COVID-19: Pregnancy

Based on what we know at this time, 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 the extent is unknown and it is rare.

If you are a health care provider, see our COVID-19: Information for Providers page under "Perinatal and Pediatric Care." If you are a doula, see the links under the "For Doulas" section below.

Pregnancy and Postpartum

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 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. Pregnant people should get their recommended vaccines, including for the flu, and a 30-day supply of any medicines they need.

Medical complications can come up after giving birth. Some can be quite serious. The CDC has helpful guidance on urgent warning signs:

During Birth

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.

If you are interested in receiving doula support, programs offering free doulas are listed on the Doula Care page under “Programs Offering Free Doulas.” Doula support can help families handle the physical, emotional and practical issues that surround childbirth. Doulas are currently providing virtual and in-person support during COVID-19.

There are still strict policies in place about who may be with you during birth. Ask your birthing providers about these policies before you arrive. Masks or face coverings will be required for everyone while you are in the hospital.

After Birth

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

Current evidence suggests that the risk of a newborn getting COVID-19 from its mother is low, especially when she uses appropriate precautions before and during care of the newborn. Such precautions include wearing a mask and practicing hand hygiene.

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

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.

People with COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 can breastfeed if they take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to their infant.

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.

If you and your baby must be separated due to illness, or you are unable to provide milk directly to your baby, it is still important to express your milk regularly to establish and maintain your milk supply.

Doulas

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

More Information