CDC guidance on coronavirus in pregnant, breastfeeding women

March 10, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a FAQ on coronavirus in pregnancy and interim guidance on breastfeeding in women who have or are suspected to have COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted a FAQ on coronavirus in pregnancy and interim guidance on breastfeeding in women who have or are suspected to have COVID-19. Both documents are based on the current state of knowledge about COVID-19 and will be updated as more information becomes available.

The FAQ on pregnancy covers susceptibility and transmission during pregnancy or delivery and risk to infants born to mothers with COVID-19. Transmission through lactation is covered in both the FAQ and the fact sheet on breastfeeding.

Key points for pregnancy include the following:

  • Published scientific reports are lacking on susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. However, immunologic and physiologic changes in pregnancy might lead to more susceptibility to viral infections. 

  • Pregnant women should follow the advice from the CDC like all others and take typical preventive actions to avoid infection, such as washing their hands and avoiding people who are sick.

  • Whether mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 is possible is unknown. Case reports exist of infants born to mothers with COVID-19 but none of the infants have tested positive for the virus.  

  • No information exists on adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with COVID-19. 

  • Pregnant healthcare personnel should adhere to infection prevention and control practices. Limiting exposure of pregnant healthcare personnel to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 may be considered.

Key points for breastfeeding include the following:

  • Whether mothers can transmit COVID-19 via breast milk is unknown. In limited studies, the virus has not been detected in breast milk.

  • A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic person under investigation for COVID-19 should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while breastfeeding. The hands should also be washed before touching any pump or bottle parts, if expressing breast milk.