At these uncertain times it is natural to feel anxious about the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy. The World Health Organization has released a Q&A on COVID-19 and pregnancy and childbirth, which is available at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-and-childbirth.

To summarize, there is currently limited data on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women. It is not yet known whether a pregnant woman can pass COVID-19 to her unborn or newborn baby. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk and there is no evidence at present to suggest that pregnant women are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

However, it is still important to take steps to protect yourself against COVID-19, because it is known that pregnant women can be badly affected by respiratory infections like SARS or influenza. This is due to changes to the body and immune system that occur during pregnancy.

So how can you protect yourself? The WHO urges pregnant women to follow the standard advice: wash hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid crowded spaces, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze (and dispose of the used tissue immediately).

The advice on whether you should get tested for COVID-19 depends on where you live, so follow the advice of your local authorities. 

If a pregnant woman does become infected with COVID-19, the WHO says that this alone is not a reason to have a caesarean section, unless it is medically justified. The mother is still encouraged to touch and hold their newborn, with support from medical staff to practice good respiratory hygiene.