Pregnancy and Newborns
Last Updated: January 6, 2022
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:
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.
Get the COVID-19 vaccine (3 doses). This is the best protection for you and your baby
Practice physical distancing
Wear a mask indoors (KN95 or N95 preferred, but at minimum a 3-ply or 4-ply surgical mask)
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
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.
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.
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:
Watch the 1-minute video below to hear from experts on how to protect newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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
While children who get COVID-19 generally have more mild illness, newborns and young infants may have a more severe course. The best way to protect your infant is to avoid indoor spaces with people outside of your immediate family. In addition, getting COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy may provide some immunity to the newborn.
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. Outdoor spaces, with physical distancing of 2 metres or more, are considered low-risk for transmission of COVID-19.
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 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.
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