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Article

SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Results from an Observational Study in Primary Care in Belgium

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Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
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Academic Center for General Practice, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 33, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals Leuven Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
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Woman and Child, Department of Development and Regeneration, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
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Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, University Hospitals Leuven Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s Hospital, Zimmermanweg 11, 3015 CP Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186766
Received: 28 August 2020 / Revised: 11 September 2020 / Accepted: 14 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Women's Health)
COVID-19 also affects pregnant and breastfeeding women. Hence, clinicians and policymakers require reliable evidence on COVID-19 epidemiology and consequences in this population. We aimed to assess the susceptibility of pregnant women to SARS-CoV-2 and women’s perceived impact of the pandemic on their breastfeeding practices, medical counseling and social support. We performed a cross-sectional study using an online survey in primary care in Belgium. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and women who breastfed in the preceding four weeks were eligible to participate. The survey was distributed through social media in April 2020. In total, 6470 women participated (i.e., 2647 pregnant and 3823 breastfeeding women). Overall, 0.3% of all respondents reported to have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, not indicating a higher susceptibility of pregnant women to contracting COVID-19. More than 90% refuted that the pandemic affected their breastfeeding practices, nor indicated that the coronavirus was responsible for breastfeeding cessation. Half of the women even considered giving longer breastmilk because of the coronavirus. In contrast, women’s medical counseling and social support were negatively affected by the lockdown. Women without previous breastfeeding experience and in the early postpartum period experienced a higher burden in terms of reduced medical counseling and support. In the future, more consideration and alternative supportive measures such as tele-visits by midwives or perinatal organizations are required for these women. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; pregnancy; breastfeeding; counseling; social support; community health services; public health; primary health care; Belgium COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; pregnancy; breastfeeding; counseling; social support; community health services; public health; primary health care; Belgium
MDPI and ACS Style

Ceulemans, M.; Verbakel, J.Y.; Van Calsteren, K.; Eerdekens, A.; Allegaert, K.; Foulon, V. SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Results from an Observational Study in Primary Care in Belgium. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6766. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186766

AMA Style

Ceulemans M, Verbakel JY, Van Calsteren K, Eerdekens A, Allegaert K, Foulon V. SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Results from an Observational Study in Primary Care in Belgium. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(18):6766. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186766

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ceulemans, Michael; Verbakel, Jan Y.; Van Calsteren, Kristel; Eerdekens, An; Allegaert, Karel; Foulon, Veerle. 2020. "SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Results from an Observational Study in Primary Care in Belgium" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 18: 6766. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186766

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