Pregnancy and Newborns

Recommendations for Pregnant Women with IBD



Experts currently believe that, whether you are pregnant or not, and whether there is COVID-19 or not, the most important thing for people with IBD is to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Our recommendations for pregnant women with IBD are similar to our recommendations for anyone with IBD:

  • Practice physical distancing

  • Wash your hands well

  • Stay on your medications (unless your doctor instructs you otherwise); active IBD is a greater risk during pregnancy than risks from medications
Watch the 2-minute video below for recommendations on how pregnant women can protect themselves during the pandemic, stay connected with loved ones, maintain mental health and wellness. 

Showing Signs or Have COVID-19?

If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, you may need to delay your infusion. But don't make these decisions alone; contact your healthcare provider to discuss your best options.

Watch the 2-minute video below for expert guidance if you are pregnant and showing signs of COVID-19 or test positive for the infection. 

Can COVID-19 be Transmitted During Pregnancy?

To date, experts have found that COVID-19 is not transmitted during pregnancy. However, if the mother displays symptoms of COVID-19, it is possible for her to transmit the virus to her newborn baby (e.g. through coughing or sneezing).

Watch the 3-minute video below to learn more from expert gastroenterologists and pregnancy experts.  

Delivery

Currently, experts do not believe COVID-19 is transmitted from mother to baby during vaginal delivery.

The type of delivery is mainly guided by the obstetrician rather than the gastroenterologist. Typically, vaginal deliveries are recommended for women with IBD. Cesarian deliveries (C-sections) are recommended if the woman has active perianal disease or has an ileoanal pouch.

Watch the 4-minute video below to learn about delivery options for women with IBD and giving birth during the pandemic.

Hospital and Clinic Visits

Even though there is a pandemic, you should feel safe delivering in a hospital. Hospitals are preparing for this and working hard to make sure that pregnant women and healthcare providers are staying safe. However, there will likely be some changes when you get to the hospital. For example, the number of visitors will be restricted and they will all be screened for symptoms.

Some clinic appointments may be switched to telephone or video telemedicine calls. However, if your healthcare provider asks you to come to the clinic in-person, please attend your visit, and remember that clinics are taking precautions to make sure that everyone stays safe.

For more information about clinic visits and IBD testing during the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here. 

Breastfeeding

Experts do not believe that COVID-19 is passed through breast milk. However, if the mother has active symptoms of COVID-19, she may transmit the virus to her newborn through droplets (i.e. coughing or sneezing).

If the mother is feeling well but has some cold symptoms, she should wear a mask while breastfeeding to act as a barrier. She can continue to breastfeed though.

If the mother is too unwell to wear a mask and breastfeed, she can pump her breast milk and have an uninfected caregiver provide the milk to the baby.

After Giving Birth and Newborns

Many people are curious about whether and how to practice social distancing within the home. This may look different in each household, but here are some guiding principles:

  • Disinfect surfaces in your home that are frequently touched

  • Practice good hand hygiene

  • Use coughing etiquette (cover your cough by coughing into your elbow)

  • If you have even symptoms of illness, contact your doctor or public health

  • Stay home: keep your baby at home as much as possible

  • Minimize exposing your baby to people living outside your home, except for health care providers

  • Continue breastfeeding

Watch the 1-minute video below to hear from experts on how to protect newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic. 



Generally, children who get COVID-19 do well. When it comes to newborns, there are not many reports of babies getting COVID-19 within the first 28 days of life. Because of this lack of data, it is hard to say at this point, but there have not been reports of newborns having severe disease.

Watch the 1-minute video below for expert guidance on if your newborn gets COVID-19.


Having a baby is exciting and anxiety-provoking at the best of times! It is normal if you are feeling both excited and scared about having a newborn during this uncertain time. 

It is important to maintain psychological closeness with others, even if you can’t be together in person. Connect with loved ones in ways that you can (using technology or the telephone). Connect with other parents with newborns online.

Do your best to stay mentally healthy, sleep well, and eat well to maintain overall health.

Watch the 4-minute video below for tips on coping as a new parent during the COVID-19, and maintaining your support system virtually

Mental Health

Mental health is very important, especially during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy and after birth, make sure to connect with others in ways that you can. Talk back to your worries. Make sure you are eating well and sleeping well. Stay in the now and focus on the present.

For more tips on maintaing mental health and wellness during the COVID-19, please click here.


Dr Benchimol and Dr Kaplan photos

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READ MORE

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.