Pregnant people do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of COVID-19 than the general population. In general, a person who is pregnant may be more vulnerable to getting infections than a person of their age who is not pregnant. It is for this reason that pregnant people should protect themselves using the guidelines for general infection prevention and control. Find more information on these measures on the COVID-19 Stop the Spread page.
Breastfeeding can and should continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, while taking the appropriate precautions for infection prevention and control.
Breastfeeding is emergency preparedness. It provides infants and young children with strong protection against infectious disease and death, and it offers secure access to food. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended.
Information about COVID-19 transmission is emerging daily. For up to date information for parents and caregivers, visit the SafelyFed Canada COVID-19 resources.
The World Health Organization currently recommends: “Breastfeeding should be initiated within 1 hour of birth. Exclusive breastfeeding should continue for 6 months with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods at age 6 months, while continuing breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. Because there is a dose-response effect, in that earlier initiation of breastfeeding results in greater benefits, mothers who are not able to initiate breastfeeding during the first hour after delivery should still be supported to breastfeed as soon as they are able.”
How to Protect and Support Mom and Baby
- After the baby is born, everyone will be excited to meet the new addition to the family. However, at this time:
- Indoor events and gatherings are not permitted, except with members of the same household.
- Outdoor events or gatherings are permitted to have a maximum of 5 people if they are considered essential in nature. This is in recognition of the fact that some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical well-being. Anyone gathering outside is expected to adhere to physical distancing measures and are strongly urged to wear a mask.
- Creative ways using social media and other cyber connections, such as FaceTime and Skype, can also be used to share the joys of your new arrival.
- For any questions or concerns related to newborn or infant care, please feel free to contact the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program at (807) 625-8814.
- Pregnancy, childbirth and caring for newborns: advice for mothers (COVID-19) (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (United States Centre for Disease Control)
- COVID-19 Guideline for Lactation for Women/Individuals Who Are Confirmed or Suspect Cases of COVID-19 (BC Centre for Disease Control)
- Statement on Breastfeeding and Lactation Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic (International Lactation Consultant Association)
- World Health Organization Q&A on COVID-19, Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding