Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, & Mental Health

If you are currently pregnant or are a new parent, you may be concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects you and your family. We are learning more each day about this virus and guidance changes quickly. It’s important that you seek information from trusted sources.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published information on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, and infant health. Learn more about the latest information and recommendations on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 Outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

March of Dimes has shared information for people who are pregnant or are caring for infants including recommended actions you and your family can act. Visit the March of Dimes COVID-19: What You Need to Know About Its Impact on Moms and Babies to read more.

The Department of Psychiatry has compiled a collection of resources to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our community during this difficult time. Visit the their page on COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Guide to view these mental health resources.

Learn more about perinatal mood disorders in an episode from the Women’s Healthcast, a podcast from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. In this episode, Beyond Baby Blues, Dr. Julianne Zweifel discusses common perinatal mood disorders like postpartum depression and anxiety, what we know about the causes of perinatal mood disorders, and the variety of available treatments including at-home and personal interventions.

Health services may change. Stay up to date on changes at your clinic and hospital by visiting their website. UW Health patients can visit the UW Health COVID-19 Resources page.

Recommendations for prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care are changing as we know more about COVID-19’s effects on people who are pregnant and infants. There currently are no recommendations specific to pregnant women regarding the evaluation or management of COVID-19. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have published a COVID-19 Practice Advisory for optimizing care for pregnant people and infants and a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Obstetricians.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19

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Avoid close contact

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. If you do go somewhere else, choose places where there are no other people around you. Whenever possible, avoid going into crowded places. If you need to go into a public place, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) away from people outside of your household.

More tips for social distancing can be found on the CDC’s website here.

Wear a Mask

CDC's checklist for face coverings

You should cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around anyone outside of your household. If you have COVID-19 but do not feel sick, it’s possible that you could spread it to others unknowingly. When you wear a mask, you prevent this from happening and protect other people around you.

More information about masks can be found on the CDC website here.

Wash your hands often

Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important before eating or preparing food, before touching your face, after leaving a public place, after handling your mask, after blowing your nose, etc. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (this can be found on the back of the bottle under “active ingredient”). Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

More information about handwashing can be found on the CDC website here.

If you think you have COVID-19

If you suspect that you might have COVID-19, call your healthcare provider. Many counties have set up free COVID-19 testing facilities and most of them can be found on the WI Department of Health Services website here.

Go to trusted sources

Follow trusted public health authorities such as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization for the most up to date information and recommendations.

covid-19-image from DHS

Keeping your communities safe

For the latest Dane County orders, data, testing information, resources, guidance, etc., please visit the Public Health Madison & Dane County Coronavirus page.

For the latest Milwaukee County orders, data, testing information, news, resources, FAQs, etc., please visit the Milwaukee County COVID-19 page.

For all other WI counties, please visit the respective county health department website for appropriate guidelines, data, and resources.

Finance and Food Security

The coronavirus is impacting households, communities, and businesses. For financial questions you and your family may have related to COVID-19, visit the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension page on Financial Resources to Help Get Through COVID-19.

Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program is continuing to collect food and organized food drops-offs to ensure no families go hungry while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Emerging COVID-19 Research

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

MMWR is a series of weekly reports prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, it is “the agency’s primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative, accurate, objective, and useful public health information and recommendations.” As with any research, there are limitations based on the type of data used, missing data, etc. While we have included brief summaries of each report below, please read the full reports for research methods and relevant limitations.

MMWR September 25, 2020: Among 598 hospitalized pregnant individuals with COVID-19 and found that 55% were asymptomatic. Among those who had symptoms, 16% were admitted to the ICU, 8.5% required mechanical ventilation, and 1% died. Pregnancy loss occurred for 2% of pregnancies and included individuals with and without symptoms.

MMWR September 25 2020: When compared to those hospitalized for pregnancy-related procedures (e.g., delivery) and found to have COVID-19, individuals who were hospitalized for COVID-19-related illness (e.g., worsening respiratory status) were more likely to have prepregnancy obesity and gestational diabetes. Preventive measures may help prevent COVID-19  among pregnant individuals, especially those with prepregnancy obesity and gestational diabetes.

MMWR September 4, 2020: States and territories that issued mandatory stay-at-home orders experienced a decrease in population movement, which helps prevent close contact among people and limits exposure to COVID-19. Relaxing the stay-at-home order in the first state also resulted in increased population movement in states that had not yet relaxed their order.

MMWR September 4, 2020: In four overnight camps in Maine, COVID-19 outbreaks were prevented simply by implementing a multi-layered prevention and mitigation strategy, which included screening, testing, and quarantine. The report has important implications for other similar settings like day camps, schools, and colleges.

MMWR August 28, 2020: American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons had 3x cumulative incidence (the total new cases) during January 31 to July 3, 2020 when compared to non-Hispanic White persons in the 23 states studied (those with enough race/ethnicity data). Wisconsin is included in the 23 states.

MMWR August 21, 2020: A disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases occurred among underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the 79 counties studied. One Wisconsin county is included in the 79 counties and was identified with having disparities in cumulative (February-June) COVID-19 cases among Hispanic individuals. Please note that due to limited race data, many counties were not included in this analysis. Additionally, many of the included counties had missing data on race for a proportion of the cases.

The latest COVID-19 reports from the MMWR can be found here.

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