Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending April 19, 2020. 

COVID-19 and Pregnancy. Find the answers to your questions.

Learn. Chat. Register.

Go to International Registry of Coronavirus Exposure in Pregnancy

(sponsored by Pregistry)

Universal COVID-19 testing for women giving birth at a hospital in NY 

All but one of the women who gave birth between March 22 and April 4 at the New York–Presbyterian Allen Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center–214 women in total–were tested for COVID-19. About 14% of them were positive; of those who were positive, about 88% had no symptoms when their tests came back positive. If these numbers can be extrapolated to the population at large–which is a very big if, since 214 pregnant women in New York City is hardly a representative population of the US–but if they could, it is bad news that so many people without symptoms have the disease and can spread it; but it is better news that a larger percentage of the population has it than we think, so herd immunity might be achieved quicker. Read more here.

This is important for you because well, it isn’t, really. If we achieve herd immunity quicker we might be able to come out of social distancing quicker; but coming out of social distancing is probably still many weeks away.

Breastfeeding is hard

Even mothers who want to do it, because they know that it is healthiest for both them and their babies, have a hard time breastfeeding. A large part of the problem is that so many mothers are forced back to work when their infants are still so young because we are one of only two nations on earth without mandatory paid maternity leave. Any public health initiative to try to increase the number of mothers who breastfeed should change the faulty system that forces mothers back to work rather than laying guilt and blame on the mothers themselves. Read this important piece here.

This is important for you because while it is your decision whether or not to breastfeed your baby, it is exceptionally difficult to do so in the current climate–without society’s support.


Not to be confused with relaxation, relactation is the process of starting to nurse your child again after she has weaned. Some mothers are considering it because they are nervous about a lack of infant formula on grocery shelves, due to panic shopping and hoarding. Read more here.

This is important for you because with non-lactating mothers looking for breast milk… maybe you could sell or donate yours?

Jennie Joseph

Jennie Joseph has been a midwife for forty years. She founded Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and created The JJ Way®, a common-sense approach designed for women and children. She just made a video to help pregnant women prepare for childbirth while COVID-19 is spreading. She says, “Regardless of what plan your hospital has in place for you, you can make a plan for yourself. Be prepared.” Read more and watch the video here.

This is important for you because her advice–be prepared, plan ahead, do your research, stay safe–is great advice in many situations, not just for giving birth during a pandemic.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Tips For Pregnant Women in Quarantine Who Want to Exercise. Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

Leave a Reply