Maternity Services

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Frequently Asked Questions

Pregnancy & COVID-19

What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19?

The CDC does not currently know if a pregnant women has a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?

The CDC does not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

The CDC still does not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?

The CDC does not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. There have been a small number of reported problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.

What to do if pregnant with confirmed or suspected COVID-19

Pregnant patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should notify their physician and the hospital at which they are scheduled to deliver.  The obstetric unit should be informed prior to arrival so that the facility can make appropriate infection control preparations before the patient arrives for care.

For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus situation, please see the CDC  website.

Kaleida Health Visitation Policy for Maternity Patients

In an effort to protect our patients, families, visitors and staff against the spread of infection, and in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance, Kaleida Health has implemented the following visitation policy at Oishei Children’s Hospital and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, effective immediately:

In addition to the two (2) designated support persons, laboring moms are allowed one (1) doula as an essential member of their care team throughout labor, delivery and postpartum period.

Visit the Kaleida Health website for the complete visitation policy.

Breastfeeding & COVID-19

Interim Guidance on Breastfeeding for a Mother Confirmed or Under Investigation for COVID-19

This interim guidance is intended for women who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are persons-under-investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 and are currently breastfeeding. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and the transmission of other viral respiratory infections. CDC will update this interim guidance as needed as additional information becomes available. For breastfeeding guidance in the immediate postpartum setting, refer to Interim Considerations for Infection Prevention and Control of 2019 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings.

Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk

Much is unknown about how COVID-19 is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.

CDC breastfeeding guidance for other infectious illnesses

Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended. CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during infection with similar viruses like SARS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

Outside of the immediate postpartum setting, CDC recommends that a mother with flu continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant.

Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers. A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic PUI (person under investigation) should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus situation, please see the CDC  website.

Kaleida Health Visitation Policy for Maternity Patients

In an effort to protect our patients, families, visitors and staff against the spread of infection, and in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance, Kaleida Health has implemented the following visitation policy at Oishei Children’s Hospital and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, effective immediately:

Limit of one (1) designated partner or caregiver with mom on labor & delivery units

Visit the Kaleida Health website for the complete visitation policy.

COVID-19 Vaccination

What are my risks if I am pregnant and contract COVID-19?

You are at increased risk of severe illness (ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and death) especially if you have comorbidities, such as obesity or diabetes. Also, there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (such as preterm birth).

Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?

Yes, if you are part of a group (ex. healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and are pregnant, you may choose to be vaccinated.

A discussion with your healthcare provider can help you make an informed decision.

Are there studies on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women and their fetus?

No, but studies in humans are ongoing and more are planned. It is expected that the safety and efficacy profile of the vaccine for pregnant individuals would be similar to that observed in non-pregnant individuals.

Since this is an mRNA vaccine, will it change my DNA or the DNA of my fetus?

No, this is not a live vaccine, and it is degraded quickly by normal cellular processes so it does not enter the nucleus of the cell or your DNA. It therefore will not cause any genetic changes to you or your fetus.

What are some important considerations for vaccination if I am pregnant?
  • The level of COVID-19 community transmission (risk of acquisition)
  • Your personal risk of contracting COVID-19 (by occupation or other activities)
  • The risks of COVID-19 to you and potential risks to your fetus
  • The efficacy of the vaccine
  • The known side effects of the vaccine
  • The lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy
What are symptoms following COVID-19 vaccination, and are they normal?

Systemic symptoms can be a normal part of the body's reaction to the vaccine and developing antibodies to protect you against COVID-19 illness. These can include fever, fatigue, headache, injection site reactions, chills, muscle and joint pains. Most are:

  • mild to moderate in severity
  • occur within the first 3 days of vaccination
  • resolve within 1-2 days of onset
What if I experience some of these side effects?

If you experience fever following vaccination, you can consider taking acetaminophen as fever has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Please discuss with your healthcare provider.

Do I need to be tested for pregnancy before receiving the vaccine?

Routine testing for pregnancy prior to receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended.

Breastfeeding and COVID-19 Vaccine

Are there studies on COVID-19 vaccine and breastfeeding?

There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion.

mRNA vaccines are not live virus vaccines and are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Theoretical concerns regarding the safety of vaccinating lactating individuals do not outweigh the potential benefits.

Can I start or continue to breastfeed if I receive the vaccine?

If a lactating woman is part of a group (e.g., healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, she may choose to be vaccinated.

A discussion with your healthcare provider can help you make an informed decision.


**COVID-19 vaccine development and regulatory approval is a rapidly changing process. Information and recommendations will evolve as more data are collected. Visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date CDC recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy.

Information obtained from CDC website above and ACOG.org 'Vaccinating pregnant and lactating patients against COVID-19"

Updated 12/16/20

Maternity Tours

On-site facility tours are not available at this time. Please view the virtual tour and photo gallery of our two birthing hospitals.

Virtual tour of Oishei Children’s Hospital

This video is best viewed on a smart phone for a 365° experience.

Photo Gallery of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital

Maternity Classes

In alignment with Governor Cuomo’s executive order to postpone all non-essential public gatherings to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Oishei Children’s Hospital and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital will be providing online childbirth education classes via Skype video conferencing until further notice. Please visit our class schedule page for a list of available classes. For more information, please contact our childbirth educators at (716) 323-2334 (Oishei) or (716) 568-3628 (Suburban)

See More Classes

Watch a Coronavirus Medically Speaking Update

Cassie Church, Chief Nursing Officer at John R. Oshei Children's Hospital provides a coronavirus update for expecting parents that discusses labor and delivery, breastfeeding, visitation and new virtual offerings for childbirth education and maternity tours at Kaleida Health hospitals.