COVID-19: Pregnancy

Evidence suggests pregnant people are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than non-pregnant people. Pregnant people who have COVID-19 may also have a higher risk for preterm birth and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. There have been a few reports of babies who may have been infected before birth, but this seems to be rare.

COVID-19 Vaccination

All people ages 12 years and older — including people who are pregnant or breastfeeding — are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in New York. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19.

During Pregnancy

Based on current evidence, experts believe the authorized vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to the pregnant person or the fetus. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant people who choose to be vaccinated.

Pregnant people were not part of the vaccines' clinical trials, except for a few people who were pregnant and did not know it or who later became pregnant. CDC recently released the first U.S. data on the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered during pregnancy.

Early data from vaccine-safety-related databases did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or for their babies. The CDC is continuing to collect information.

If you are pregnant, it may be helpful to discuss vaccination with your health care provider. You do not need clearance from a provider to be vaccinated. If you have questions about your situation, talk to your provider or review this tool for pregnant people considering whether to get the vaccine (PDF).

If you are pregnant and develop a fever after being vaccinated, you should take acetaminophen (Tylenol®). High fever has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.

During Breastfeeding

People who were breastfeeding were not included in the vaccines' clinical trials. Data suggest COVID-19 is not transmitted through breast milk, and the COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.

Early data from breastfeeding people who received the COVID-19 vaccines show the antibodies they produced can be passed through their breastmilk. More studies are needed to know whether the antibodies provide some level of protection to babies against the virus.

When Trying to Become Pregnant

People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future should get vaccinated. There is no evidence vaccines cause infertility in men or women.

Inaccurate claims of infertility related to the COVID-19 vaccines are based on a misunderstanding of the science. These vaccines — similar to many other vaccines — work by teaching our body to create antibodies to fight the virus.

Concerns of infertility are based on the misconception that the antibodies developed after COVID-19 infection or vaccination will attack a protein in the placenta. However, the proteins on the virus that causes COVID-19 and the protein in the placenta are different, and our immune systems are smart enough to tell the difference. There is no evidence these antibodies will cause any problems in pregnancy, including in the development of the placenta.

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Vaccine

Following a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, this vaccine is now available again. During the pause, the CDC investigated a small number of reports of a rare type of blood clot. Women younger than 50 should be aware of this small risk and the availability of other COVID-19 vaccines.


Protecting Your Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused pregnant and postpartum people stress and anxiety. There are tools and guidance available on how to navigate pregnancy and the postpartum period during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Pregnancy

Do not skip your health care appointments during or after pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider about how to stay healthy and take care of yourself and your baby.

Be sure to call your health care provider if you have concerns, such as if you feel something is wrong or you need an in-person visit. If you think you might have COVID-19, call your provider’s office to let them know about your symptoms.

It is important to follow public health guidance on how to protect yourself from illnesses, including COVID-19. In addition to considering the COVID-19 vaccine, pregnant people should get other recommended vaccines, including the flu vaccine at any time during pregnancy, and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) between 27 and 36 weeks gestation (preferably during the earlier part of this period). Pregnant people who get vaccinated during pregnancy may pass antibodies to their babies that can protect them in the first few months of life.

During Birth

Doula support can help families handle the physical, emotional and practical issues that surround childbirth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, doulas are providing virtual and in-person support. If you are interested in receiving doula support, review the list of programs offering free doulas on our Doula Care page under "Programs Offering Free Doulas."

Hospitals in New York State must allow patients giving birth to have two support people with them, including a partner, friend, family member or doula . These support people are allowed during labor, delivery and the duration of the hospital stay. Ask your birthing providers about their policy before you arrive. Face coverings will be required for everyone while you are in the hospital.

If you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms, contact your birthing facility before you arrive. This will allow them to prepare for your arrival.

After Birth

Evidence shows that the best setting for a healthy, full-term newborn is in the parent’s room. This is known as rooming-in.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation, discuss the risks and benefits of rooming-in with your health care provider. You can make an informed decision with your provider about whether your newborn will stay in the room with you while in the hospital.

Medical complications can occur after giving birth, including for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 infection. Some can be quite serious. Learn more about the urgent maternal warning signs:

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is even more important during a pandemic. Infants and children are most at risk during emergencies, when infant formula and feeding supplies are limited.

Breast milk provides perfect nutrition tailored specifically to your baby. It contains virtually all the protein, sugar, fat, vitamins and minerals that babies need to grow. It is easily digestible and adapts to the nutritional needs of your baby.

New evidence suggests human milk is unlikely to transmit the virus that causes COVID-19. If you do not have COVID-19 and have not been in close contact with someone who has it, you do not need to take special precautions when nursing or expressing milk.

If you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, you should take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your baby, including:

If you have COVID-19 and you prefer not to breastfeed your baby, you can express your milk to establish and maintain your milk supply. In this case, a healthy caregiver may feed expressed breast milk to the child. This person should wear a face mask or face covering while feeding the child.

Intimate Partner Violence

The severity of intimate partner violence can worsen during pregnancy or the postpartum period. Further, there has been an increase in reports of intimate partner violence during the pandemic.

If you are quarantined with an abuser or worried about having to self-isolate in a dangerous home situation, call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-4673.


Doulas

The following guidance documents are intended for doulas. They offer health and informational guidance on providing virtual and in-person support during COVID-19.

Providers

If you are a health care provider, see our COVID-19: Information for Providers page under "Perinatal and Pediatric Care."

More Information