A Local Doctor Weighs Answers FAQs on Pregnancy + COVID-19

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During this time of uncertainty, we are all craving answers + information about how to stay healthy and the best ways to care for our families. One group of people who have additional concerns are pregnant women. There is a lot of information swirling around about how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their newborns. Since this is a new virus and it hasn’t been studied for very long, data is still being collected.

We spoke with Dr. George Guirguis from Perinatal Diagnostic Centers of New York and New Jersey to get a physician’s expert input. Dr. Guirguis is a practicing Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialist based in Hoboken, NJ, and he has been hosting webinars to answer all the questions pregnant women may have during this time.

To sign up for a webinar, email Dr. Guirguis at drgeorge@pdcultrasound.com.

Below is our Q+A with Dr. Guirguis, based on Qs from mamas-to-be:

HG: If a mother is infected, are there risks to my baby’s development?
Dr. Guirguis: Not at all. Keep mom healthy and the baby remains healthy.  The placenta’s function should not be underestimated in the case of such a virus.  It acts to keep babies healthy. Generally speaking, you should think of it this way:
Healthy mom = healthy placenta = healthy baby

Currently, it is unclear if COVID-19 can cross through the placenta to the baby but most experts, including myself, find it highly unlikely. I go into a lot more detail for our expecting Hoboken moms during the webinar.

HG: Should a mother self-quarantine away from family and children during this time?
DG: There is no need to do so unless you become symptomatic with a fever, dry cough, muscle aches, or joint pain.
HG: Can mothers breastfeed an infant after giving birth?
DG: There is certainly no need to abstain from breastfeeding and it’s encouraged for all moms unless a mother is COVID-19 positive or symptomatic.  Also, in a limited recent case series of infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19 published in peer-reviewed literature, none of the infants have tested positive for COVID-19.

The CDC also has information to help pregnant women with their questions during this time. We’ve gathered some of the most common questions that the CDC is seeing regarding pregnancy + COVID-19.

Common Questions + Answers from the CDC

Here are a few more Qs to help you navigate this through the

What is the risk of pregnant women getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will their symptoms be worse than other people?

The CDC does not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public or whether they are more likely to have serious symptoms as a result. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that can increase their risk of some infections.  It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves formally illnesses.

How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. The following actions will help prevent the spread of infection as as well as keep individual safe:

  • Cover your cough {using your elbow is a good technique}
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Stay home as much as possible

Read more: 14 Local Moms on How They Balance Motherhood + Work

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 here.

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

The CDC, unfortunately, does not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. However, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk

Much is unknown about how COVID-19 is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.

Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19

The CDC says that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether or how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in conjunction with her family and healthcare provider.  A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is asymptomatic should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, mothers should wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is healthy feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

See More: First-Time Mom Resources in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

Always make sure to consult your doctor before making any health decisions for you, your family, and your infant.


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Morgan is a career copywriter and copy editor with a background in small business marketing. Her professional work has been across many business verticals such as medical, web security, health + wellness, lifestyle, and consumer goods. She also had an original play produced at the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken in June 2019. When not writing, she can be found in Sephora buying unnecessary amounts of makeup or teaching a yoga class at the Hudson Yoga Project. She works from her home office in Hoboken with her rescue dog Bowie.