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COVID-19: Pregnancy FAQs

We've learned a lot about COVID-19. Here are some answers to questions about the virus and pregnancy.

Can COVID-19 Cause Problems for a Woman's Pregnancy or Her Baby?

Usually, COVID-19 during pregnancy causes a mild illness and women recover fully. But studies show that those who are or were recently pregnant and get COVID-19 are more at risk for severe illness than women who aren't pregnant. They're also more likely to have problems that can affect their baby than pregnant woman who don’t have COVID-19 (for example, their babies are more likely to be born early or even stillborn). So it's important to protect yourself by following all recommended pregnancy precautions.

How Can Pregnant Women Protect Themselves From COVID-19?

To protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infections if you're pregnant:

  • Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, including getting updated vaccines when it’s recommended. This also protects the baby from getting very sick with COVID-19 in the first 6 months of life.
  • Wash your hands well and often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Know when to wear a mask (for example, when indoors in public in areas that have high rates of COVID-19 or other respiratory infections). Your health care provider can advise you.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Avoid large crowds and keep a reasonable distance from people you don't live with.
  • Clean and disinfect things that people touch a lot, like phones, doorknobs, and counters.

If I Get COVID-19 While I'm Pregnant, Can I Pass it to My Baby?

Experts believe that the risk of a pregnant woman passing COVID-19 to her fetus is rare but possible. It seems more likely to happen if the mother was very sick while infected, or was infected just before giving birth. Doctors recommend testing healthy babies born to mothers with COVID-19. This will help with plans to care for the baby in the hospital and when the baby is home.

After they're born, babies are more likely to catch the virus from an infected parent. But doctors do not recommend separating an infected mother from her newborn unless she is too sick to care for the baby. If the mother feels well enough, she can care for and feed her baby while wearing a mask and washing her hands well and often.

What Should I Do if I'm Pregnant and Get Sick?

The symptoms of COVID-19 can be like those of other viruses, like colds and the flu. So chances are, unless you get tested, you won't know if you have COVID-19. Call your health care provider right away if you have any symptoms, such as:

  • a cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing
  • symptoms of a cold such as a sore throat, congestion, or a runny nose
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • a loss of taste or smell
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea

Most people who get sick can be cared for at home with fluids and rest. But if you need to see a health care provider, call the office or hospital before going in. A doctor might prescribe antiviral medicine to treat COVID-19, or might suggest other ways to treat the symptoms.

Where Can I Get More Information on COVID-19?

For more information, visit the CDC's website.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: May 1, 2024

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