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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pregnancy FAQs

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

There are many things we don't yet know about coronavirus (COVID-19), but we're learning more each day. Here are some answers to questions about coronavirus and pregnancy.

Do Pregnant Women Have a Higher Chance of Getting Coronavirus?

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. So it's important to protect yourself.

How Can Pregnant Women Protect Themselves From Coronavirus?

To protect themselves from coronavirus and other infections, pregnant women should:

  • Wash their hands well and often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Try not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Keep away from others as much as possible by staying home. If you need to go out, stay at least 6 feet away (2 meters) from other people.
  • Clean and disinfect things that people touch a lot, like phones, doorknobs, and counters.

Is Coronavirus Worse in Pregnant Women?

It's not clear if coronavirus is worse for pregnant women. They can have more problems with other respiratory viruses, like the flu. For this reason, it's especially important to follow all recommended precautions while pregnant.

Can Coronavirus Cause Problems for a Woman's Pregnancy or Her Baby?

It's still too early to tell how coronavirus may affect pregnancy or an unborn baby. Some pregnant women with coronavirus have had problems, like premature birth, but it's not clear if the virus caused them.

If I Get Coronavirus 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.

Newborn babies can catch the virus after birth. This is why doctors might recommend temporarily separating a mother and her infant if the mother is sick at the time of delivery.

What Should I Do if I Am Pregnant and Get Sick?

The symptoms of coronavirus are like those of other respiratory viruses, like colds and the flu. So chances are, unless you get tested, you won't know if you have coronavirus. Call your health care provider right away if you have any symptoms, such as a cough, fever, or trouble breathing. Other symptoms may include:

  • a sore throat
  • chills
  • repeated shaking with chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • a loss of taste or smell

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 are taking every precaution to make sure moms and babies are safe from germs. Most health care facilities keep patients with coronavirus or symptoms of the virus away from others and in isolation wards.

Some hospitals are limiting 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 keep practicing social distancing 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 yet, 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.
  • 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, reliable information about coronavirus.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2020