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Aug.31.2021
 Pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnant women and women who were recently pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Other conditions, such as being pregnant at an older age or having diabetes or obesity, can further increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This risk can last for at least 42 days following the end of the pregnancy.
Protect yourself and your baby by:
  • Knowing your risk factors. Ask your health care provider about your specific risk factors.
  • Working with your health care team to protect yourself against all infections, including COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 affect me?

If you get COVID-19 while pregnant or shortly after your pregnancy, there is an increased risk that you may:
  • Get a respiratory illness that can lead to pneumonia or severe illness.
  • Give birth to your baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy (preterm birth).
  • Have other complications that can affect your pregnancy.

How does COVID-19 affect my care?

If you have COVID-19, special precautions will be taken around your pregnancy:
  • You will have to notify the clinic or hospital before a visit. Steps will be taken to protect other people from the virus, including seeing you in a special room.
  • Tests and scans may be done differently before delivery (prenatal care).
  • Your birth plan may change, including what room you will be in and who may be with you during labor and delivery.
  • You may stay longer in the hospital after delivery (postpartum care).
  • COVID-19 will affect where your baby will stay after delivery. Ask about the risks and benefits of staying in the same room with your baby. Benefits include breastfeeding and mother–newborn bonding.
  • You may have to feed your baby differently.
  • Visitors will be limited after your baby is born.

How does COVID-19 affect my baby?

It is very rare for a mother with COVID-19 to pass the virus to the unborn baby.
After birth, a baby can get the virus if he or she is exposed to it.
Ask your health care provider about ways to protect your baby. The baby can be placed in an incubator. A physical barrier can also be used.

What can I do to lower my risk?

Medicines and vaccines

  • You can receive a COVID-19 vaccination. This can protect you from severe illness. If you have concerns, talk to your health care provider.
  • Get other recommended vaccines, including the flu vaccine and the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine.
  • Ask your health care provider if you can get a 30-day, or longer, supply of your medicines, so you can make fewer trips to the pharmacy.
  • If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, consider enrolling in the v-safe program from the CDC. This program uses an app on your smartphone to provide check-ins and gather information on your health after you receive the vaccine. There is a separate registry for pregnant women. For more information, visit:

Cleaning and personal hygiene

If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take these steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your newborn:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before holding or caring for your baby. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a mask when within 6 feet (1.8 m) of your baby.
  • Keep your baby more than 6 feet (1.8 m) away from you as much as possible.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes, or nose before washing your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.

Other things to do

  • Avoid people who might have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19, including people who live with you.
  • Cover your mouth and nose by wearing a mask or other cloth covering over your face when you go out in public.
  • Avoid people who are not wearing a mask.
  • Avoid large crowds. Maintain at least 6 feet (1.8 m) between yourself and others.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Call your health care provider if you have any health concerns.
    • Contact your health care provider right away if you think you have COVID-19. Tell your health care provider that you think you may have a COVID-19 infection and that you are pregnant.

Breastfeeding tips

Plan with your family and health care team how to feed your baby. Current research shows that the virus may not pass to a baby through breast milk.
If you are breastfeeding, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines pose no risk for breastfeeding mothers or their babies.
  • Some of the vaccines might create antibodies in breast milk. These antibodies can help to protect your baby.
Take precautions if you have or may have COVID-19. Precautions include:
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before feeding your baby. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wearing a mask while feeding your baby.
  • Pumping or expressing breast milk to feed to your baby. If possible, ask someone in your household who is not sick to feed your baby the expressed breast milk.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching pump parts.
    • Wash and disinfect all pump parts after expressing milk. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean and disinfect all pump parts.

Follow these instructions:

Managing stress

Some pregnant and postpartum women may have fear, uncertainty, and stress because of COVID-19. Find ways to manage stress. These may include:
  • Using relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing.
  • Getting regular exercise. Most women can continue their usual exercise routine during pregnancy. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Seeking support from family, friends, or spiritual resources. If you cannot be together in person, you can still connect by phone calls, texts, video calls, or online messaging.
  • Doing relaxing activities that you enjoy, such as listening to music or reading a good book.

General instructions

  • Follow your health care provider's instructions on taking medicines. Some medicines may not be safe to take during pregnancy.
  • Ask for help if you have counseling or nutritional needs. Your health care provider can offer advice or refer you to resources or specialists who can help you with various needs.
  • Keep all follow-up visits. This is important. This includes visits before and after you have your baby.

Questions to ask your health care team

  • What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
  • What are the side effects that can occur after receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines?
  • How will COVID-19 affect my prenatal care visits, tests and scans, labor and delivery, and postpartum care?
  • What are the risks of COVID-19 to me and the potential risks to my unborn baby or infant?
  • How do vaccines pass antibodies to my unborn baby?
  • Should I plan to breastfeed my baby?
  • Where can I find mental health resources?
  • Where can I find support if I have financial concerns?

Where to find more information

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have signs and symptoms of infection, including a fever or cough.
    • Tell your health care team that you think you may have a COVID-19 infection and that you are pregnant.
  • You have strong emotions, such as sadness or anxiety.
  • You feel unsafe in your home and need help finding a safe place to live.
  • You have bloody or watery vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding.

Get help right away if:

  • You have signs or symptoms of labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These include:
    • Contractions that are 5 minutes or less apart, or that increase in frequency, intensity, or length.
    • Sudden, sharp pain in the abdomen or in the lower back.
    • A gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina.
  • You have signs of more serious illness, such as:
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Chest pain.
    • A fever of 102.2°F (39°C) or higher that does not go away.
    • Vomiting every time you drink fluids.
    • Feeling extremely weak.
    • Fainting.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

Summary

  • Pregnant women and women who were recently pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Take precautions to protect yourself and your baby. Wear a mask. Wash hands often. Avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes, or nose before washing hands. Avoid large groups of people and stay away from people who are sick.
  • If you think you have a COVID-19 infection, contact your health care provider right away. Tell your health care provider that you think you have COVID-19 and that you are pregnant.
  • If you have COVID-19, special precautions may be taken during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and after delivery.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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