COVID-19: Pregnancy

People who get COVID-19 while pregnant are more likely to get severely ill or die from COVID-19. Severe illness may include hospitalization, intensive care or needing a ventilator. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and might be at increased risk for other poor pregnancy outcomes.

COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all peoples ages 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, recently pregnant, breastfeeding or wanting to get pregnant. The benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination.

The vaccines do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. They cannot give you or your baby COVID-19 or change your DNA.

During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

People Who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding Can Receive Any of the Three COVID-19 Vaccines

Studies did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people or their fetuses when they received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Studies are still ongoing for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. There is a risk for people (greater for women less than 50 years of age) to develop a rare blood clot called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This risk has not been seen with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

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.

Where to Get Vaccinated

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you can be vaccinated in any setting, such as City-run vaccination sites, pharmacies or your doctor’s office. You do not need to take a pregnancy test before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. You also do not need to get permission from your doctor to be vaccinated.

Getting Vaccinated Can Protect Your Baby From COVID-19

Getting vaccinated reduces your risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others, including your baby.

Recent studies of people who are pregnant and received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines found antibodies in the baby’s cord blood and in breast milk. Future studies can help us understand whether these antibodies could protect babies, as some other vaccines do. For example, people who are pregnant and get the whooping cough vaccine (called Tdap) and the flu vaccine pass along antibodies that protect the baby during its first few months of life.

Learn how to reduce your risk if you are not fully vaccinated.

When Trying to Become Pregnant

COVID-19 Vaccines Do Not Cause Fertility Problems

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems. The CDC recommends that people who want to get pregnant get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Vaccine and Your Menstrual Cycle

You do not need to plan vaccination around your menstrual cycle. The vaccine can safely be given while menstruating.

More studies will be done to see if there is a connection between COVID-19 vaccination and temporary menstrual changes.

The Vaccine Does Not Affect Puberty or People’s Hormones

There is no evidence vaccines have long-term effects on puberty or hormones.

V-safe Pregnancy Registry

If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, you can enroll in V-safe. V-safe is a program run by the CDC that uses text messages and web surveys to provide you with personalized health check-ins. The V-safe pregnancy registry gathers information on the health of pregnant people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. This information can help people and their health care providers make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe is a voluntary program, and you can opt out at any time.


Protecting Your Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress and anxiety for people who are pregnant or postpartum. There are tools and guidance that can help, including a live chat and warmline supported by the CDC.

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 pregnancy.

Be sure to call your health care provider if you have concerns or if 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.

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 of pregnancy. 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.

Hospitals in New York State must allow patients giving birth to have two support people with them, which can include 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. Proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, a negative COVID-19 test or wearing of PPE may 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

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. Learn more about urgent maternal warning signs:

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding (or what is sometimes referred to as chestfeeding, bodyfeeding or nursing) is even more important during a pandemic. Infants and children are most at risk during emergencies, when infant formula and feeding supplies may be limited.

Human milk provides perfect nutrition tailored specifically to your baby. It contains 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 studies show 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 breastfeeding or expressing milk.

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

If you have COVID-19 and you choose not to breastfeed your baby, you can express your milk to establish and maintain your milk supply. A healthy caregiver may feed expressed milk to your baby while wearing a face mask or face covering.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence can be worse during pregnancy or the postpartum period. There has also 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 Health Department has issued guidance for doulas 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."

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