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COVID-19: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Postpartum

If you’re pregnant or just had a baby, you likely have many questions about how COVID-19 could affect you and your child. If you are pregnant or have recently delivered (postpartum), you have a higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19 than people who are not pregnant. Here is information to help you work with your healthcare team.

How can I stay safe?

Take extra care not to get sick during this time. This includes:

  • Wearing a high-quality, well-fitting face mask as advised by your local community and health experts. You may choose to mask at any time. Mask guidelines may change based on how COVID-19 is affecting your community. Follow the CDC's guidelines..

  • Washing your hands often

  • Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren’t available

  • Staying away from crowds and keeping distance from others in public as advised

  • Staying away from anyone who is sick

  • Staying current on all advised vaccines

  • Improving airflow indoors. This may include opening windows to improve air flow, changing filters more often on your heating or air conditioning units, and turning on fans.

  • Moving indoor group activities outside if possible. Viruses spread more easily indoors than outdoors. See the CDC website for more information.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

  • Not traveling if you are sick. See the CDC travel website ..

What about the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 is vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective. Several vaccines are approved to prevent COVID-19, including for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The vaccines work well to prevent COVID-19 or reduce your risk of getting seriously ill if you do get the virus.

The CDC recommends the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax. COVID-19 vaccination is advised for all people 6 months and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. COVID-19 vaccines are given as a shot (injection) into the muscle. They can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

For current information about the vaccines, visit the CDC website or the ACOG website. Booster shots are available for people ages 6 months and older. Talk with your healthcare provider about which vaccine and booster is best for you and your family.

What are the risks to my baby?

These are some things researchers know:

  • High fever from any cause in the first trimester of pregnancy can raise the risk for some kinds of birth defects. Tell your healthcare provider if you have a fever. They will help you work to keep your fever down.

  • COVID-19 during pregnancy may increase risk of preterm birth.

  • COVID-19 during pregnancy may pass to the fetus, but this seems to be rare.

  • Babies born to women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy have an increased chance of needing care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

  • Newborns can get COVID-19 if exposed to it.

Is it safe to keep my healthcare appointments?

Yes, it's safe and important to keep your appointments.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare office before you go to your appointment. Wear a mask covering both your nose and mouth as advised and follow all instructions from the healthcare staff.

Una proveedora de atención médica habla con una mujer en el consultorio.

What if someone in my home is sick with COVID-19 symptoms?

If your partner or another household member has COVID-19 symptoms, they should wear a mask if around you and stay away from you as much as possible. This means staying in one part of the household away from others. Wear a mask when you are sick or caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19. They should not share food, towels, sheets, or other personal items. Clean common-use surfaces often, such as doorknobs and counter tops. If your partner is sick and it’s near your due date, ask your healthcare provider how best to manage when you go into labor. You may be given specific instructions.

Is it safe to give birth at a hospital or birth center?

Medical facilities are taking a lot of safety steps to protect people from COVID-19. Talk with your healthcare provider about the hospital or birth center you are planning to use. Ask where and how pregnant people and their partners and babies are protected.

If you have COVID-19 and are in labor, call your healthcare provider and delivery unit before you arrive. Your hospital or birthing center will take steps to protect people around you from infection. You will need to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth. You may be able to room-in with your newborn if you have mild COVID-19. Your healthcare team will advise you on what to expect. Staying in a separate room may be recommended if you are very sick and unable to care for your baby.

Before and after birth, you may be asked to limit the number of visitors at the hospital. This is important to reduce risk of infection to everyone in the hospital. Follow all healthcare staff instructions, including their instructions on how to prepare your home for when you and baby go home.

Is it safe to give birth at home?

The risks of home birth vary with each person and each pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare team about the benefits and risks for your pregnancy. If you were planning birth in a hospital or birth center, your healthcare provider may advise that this is still the safest plan.

Is it safe to breastfeed or be near my baby if I have COVID-19?

The virus hasn’t been found in the breastmilk of people with COVID-19. But the virus can spread through coughing, sneezing, and talking. Wear a mask when holding your baby, including during feeding. Wash your hands often when caring for your baby. If you have COVID-19 and want to breastfeed your baby, talk with your healthcare provider about the best ways to protect your baby.

If you have COVID-19, you can do things to avoid passing the infection to your baby:

  • Wear a mask when holding your baby, including during feeding.

  • Wash your hands often when caring for your baby or before touching breast pump or bottle parts.

  • If possible, let someone who is healthy help care for your newborn.

Is it safe to have visitors see the baby, or help with baby care?

To be extra safe, it’s best to limit visitors, especially people who are not fully vaccinated. Only the closest, healthy family members who live with you or those who are healthy and fully vaccinated should be in direct contact with the baby. Tell anyone who is sick not to visit. All visitors should wash their hands when they visit.

If a visitor is to hold the baby, they should wash their hands first. Wrap the baby in a blanket and then remove the blanket afterward. The visitor should then wash their hands. Visitors should not kiss or touch the baby’s face. This does not apply to the closest family members unless they are sick.

When to call your healthcare provider

If you’re pregnant and have COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away. They will ask you questions about your health. You may be advised to stay home. test, and treat your symptoms. Or you may be advised to get medical care.

Last modified date: 3/14/2024

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.