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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pregnancy FAQs

We've learned a lot about coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some answers to questions about coronavirus and pregnancy.

Do Pregnant Women Have a Higher Chance of Getting Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Experts don't know if pregnant women are more likely to get coronavirus than other people. But because of the changes women go through during pregnancy, they may be more likely to get some infections.

Pregnant women who do get infected with coronavirus are more likely to have a severe illness than women who aren't pregnant. So it's important to protect yourself by following all recommended pregnancy precautions.

How Can Pregnant Women Protect Themselves From Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

To protect yourself from coronavirus and other infections if you're pregnant:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine, including a booster dose.
  • Wash your hands well and often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a mask, as recommended by health experts (for example, when out in public or around other people). Your health care provider can advise you.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away (2 meters) from people you don't live with
  • Clean and disinfect things that people touch a lot, like phones, doorknobs, and counters.

Can Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cause Problems for a Woman's Pregnancy or Her Baby?

It seems that pregnant women with coronavirus are more likely to deliver their babies early. Doctors are carefully studying pregnancies to see if other problems could be linked to COVID-19.

If I Get Coronavirus (COVID-19) While I'm Pregnant, Can I Pass it to My Baby?

There's not enough research yet to know if coronavirus can spread to babies during pregnancy or birth. The virus has not been found in amniotic fluid or breast milk, but some babies born to mothers with coronavirus have tested positive for the virus. Doctors recommend testing healthy babies born to mothers with coronavirus, if tests are available. This will help with plans to care for the baby in the hospital and when the baby is home.

Newborns can catch the virus from an infected parent. But doctors do not recommend separating an infected mother from her newborn unless she is too sick to care for the baby. If the mother feels well enough, she can care for and feed her baby while wearing a mask and washing her hands well and often. When not providing care, it's best for the mother to keep 6 feet away from her baby, when possible, until the recommended isolation period is over.

What Should I Do if I'm Pregnant and Get Sick?

The symptoms of COVID-19 can be like those of other viruses, like colds and the flu. So chances are, unless you get tested, you won't know if you have COVID-19. Call your health care provider right away if you have any symptoms, such as:

  • a cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing
  • symptoms of a cold such as a sore throat, congestion, or a runny nose
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • a loss of taste or smell
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • tiredness

Most people who get sick can be cared for at home with fluids and rest. But if you need to see a health care provider, call the office or hospital before going in. For emergencies, call 911.

Is it Safe to Deliver My Baby in a Hospital Now?

Yes. Hospitals and birth centers take every precaution to make sure moms and babies are safe from germs. Most health care facilities keep patients with COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus away from others and in isolation wards.

Some hospitals limit the number of people allowed in the delivery room. When your baby is born, visitors may not be allowed in the hospital. If they are, they may be checked for coronavirus symptoms before going in the building.

Is it OK to Let Visitors Meet My New Baby at Home?

Because newborns' immune systems are still developing, they have a harder time fighting illnesses. So it's important to stay away from other people when your baby comes home from the hospital.

To protect your baby:

  • Keep your baby at home and away from others as much as possible. Don't have friends and family over to meet the baby, and don't take the baby to other people's homes.
  • If you have to take your baby out — for instance, to a doctor's visit — keep yourself and your baby at least 6 feet away from other people. You should wear a mask, but do not put anything over your baby's face.
  • If someone in your home is sick, take all recommended precautions. Keep your baby away from anyone who is sick.
  • At home, all caregivers should wash their hands before and after touching your baby. Keep all surfaces clean.

Where Can I Get Updated Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for up-to-date information.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2021