Advice and information for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Pregnant women may be at increased risk of more serious cases of certain viral infections if they are infected, for example in the case of influenza. We do not yet know if this is the case for COVID-19 disease but there is little to indicate that pregnant women are at risk of a serious course of COVID-19.
Studies performed in China, Italy, USA and UK have so far shown:
- Healthy pregnant women with COVID-19 do not seem to have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 than other healthy women in the same age group.
- It is not shown that women with chronic diseases or pregnancy complications have an increased risk of severe COVID-19. It is shown that adults with diabetes (i.e. diabetes that began before pregnancy), cardiovascular disease and/or obesity can give an increased risk, and this may also apply to pregnant women see Risk groups and their relatives
- Some cases of severe disease have been reported among pregnant women. Some of these cases have had other known risk factors for COVID-19.
- It is not shown that COVID-19 during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage or premature birth.
The virus is mainly spread by droplet or contact transmission. Whether the coronavirus is transmitted from mother to child before, during or after birth is unknown, but the few studies that have been carried out so far indicate that it does not transmit via the placenta. Mothers who are sick could infect their newborn baby after birth so they should follow the infection control advice given by healthcare workers after the birth. Babies born to mothers with COVID-19, and who were infected after birth, have had mild or no symptoms.
Preventive measures for this coronavirus are similar for other infectious diseases. Follow good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and limit contact with people other than your closest circle of contacts (you decide who is in this circle, but there shouldn't be too many and they should be the same over time). Discuss the possibility of working from home with your employer.
If someone in the closest circle has symptoms of respiratory tract infection, try to limit contact and follow good hand hygiene and other basic infection control advice.
The healthcare service has been in a challenging situation that has led to temporary changes in the normal pregnancy check-up routines. Now it is recommended at all check-ups should follow normal guidelines.
Women who have symptoms of respiratory infection or who have confirmed COVID-19 must contact the healthcare service before check-ups to discuss how these should be carried out.
If pregnant women are concerned for their own health or the health of the foetus, extra check-ups can be carried out according to the usual criteria. The Norwegian Gynaecological Association has issued advice about pregnancy check-ups for women during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pregnant women with chronic diseases or pregnancy complications should discuss with their doctor whether or not there is reason to exercise extra care and if workplace adjustment is necessary. Sick leave is not recommended unless work adjustments are impossible.
Pregnant women in their second and third trimester, and pregnant women in their first trimester who have risk factors, are recommended to take the seasonal influenza vaccine. This advice applies regardless of coronavirus infection.
Healthcare professionals who are pregnant
Healthcare professionals with patient contact are at risk of exposure to infection from sick people who need medical attention. The recommended infection control equipment should be used by all healthcare professionals during contact with a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 disease.
As a precaution for healthcare professionals who are pregnant, it is recommended that other healthcare professionals should take samples and treat people with suspected COVID-19 disease where possible. Workplace adjustment should be done in consultation with the employer.
For healthcare professionals who are pregnant and who have pregnancy complications or chronic diseases with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 progression (see section on pregnant women and risk factors above), work adjustment or remote working should be assessed based on individual risk.
Birth and maternity
Women who give birth and who had confirmed COVID-19 just before birth can be together with their newborn after the birth, unless the mother is seriously ill or the child is very premature or sick.
However, there will be restrictions on visits to the mother and child.
Maternity and neonatal departments in Norway are prepared to handle a woman with confirmed COVID-19 giving birth and her baby and procedures have been issued in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Coronavirus has not been detected in breast milk from women with COVID-19 infection, where this has been studied. Women with COVID-19 infection can therefore breastfeed normally. This is also the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO).
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SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that is causing the outbreak of COVID-19 disease.
The virus is related to another coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 but is not the same virus.