Image showing a person's pregnant belly in a park

Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people.

What you need to know

  • Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people 1.
  • Having certain underlying medical conditions, and other factors, such as age or occupation, can further increase a pregnant person’s risk for developing severe illness.
  • Pregnant people with COVID-19 might also be at increased risk for other poor outcomes, such as preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks).
  • Pregnant people and people who live with or visit them need to take steps to protect themselves from getting sick with COVID-19.

Increased Risk of Severe Illness

Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may require:

  • hospitalization,
  • intensive care,
  • a ventilator or special equipment to help them breathe

People with COVID-19 who become severely ill may even die.

Certain Factors Can Increase Risk

Other factors can further increase a pregnant person’s risk for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19, such as having certain underlying medical conditions or being older than a certain age 2. People with an underlying medical condition should continue to follow the treatment plan prescribed by their healthcare provider.

Conditions in the places where pregnant people live, learn, work, play, and worship also affect health risks and outcomes, such as getting sick with COVID-19 or developing severe illness. For example, people who are pregnant and work in places where they cannot keep their distance from people who may be sick, like healthcare providers, are at increased risk for getting sick and developing severe illness from COVID-19. Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put pregnant people from some racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19.

Understanding additional factors that can put pregnant people at an increased risk can help them make decisions about what kind of precautions to take to protect themselves from infection.

Effect on Pregnancy Outcomes

Pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other poor outcomes related to pregnancy, such as preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) 3.

See the latest data on birth and infant outcomes among pregnant women with COVID-19

Reducing your risk of getting COVID-19

It is especially important for pregnant people, and those who live or visit with them, to take steps to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.

Pregnant woman at the grocery store looking at bananas.

When going out or interacting with others outside your immediate household, wear a mask.

There is no way to have zero risk of infection, so it is important to know how to be as safe as possible. Consider your own personal situation and the risk for you, your family, and your community when deciding whether or not to go out or interact with people who do not live with you. Ensure you and the people who live with you are taking steps to protect themselves.

The best ways to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to:

  • Limit in-person interactions with people who might have been exposed to or who might be infected with COVID-19, including people within your household, as much as possible.
  • Take steps to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.
    • Wear a mask. Avoid others who are not wearing masks or ask others around you to wear a mask that fully covers the nose and mouth and fits well to the face.
    • Keep space between yourself and others (stay at least 6 feet away, which is about 2 arm lengths).
    • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Then wash your hands.
  • Clean surfaces and things you touch often with soap or detergent.
  • Keep at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, or pharmacist about getting an extra supply (for example, more than 30 days) of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy.
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine when its available to you. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and  part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, you may choose to be vaccinated. Talk to a healthcare provider. This will help you make an informed decision about whether to choose to be vaccinated.

Even if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to continue taking steps described above to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Staying healthy during your pregnancy

  • Tell them that you are pregnant and are having an emergency. If someone else is driving to the emergency department, call while you are on the way. If you must drive yourself call before you start driving.​

Seek medical care immediately if you experience any urgent maternal warning signs and symptoms. These symptoms could indicate a potentially life-threatening complication.

If you are sick or think you were exposed to COVID-19

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, learn about caring for newborns when the mother has COVID-19.

Read information about breastfeeding and caring for newborns.


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