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.
Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may require:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- Keep all of your healthcare appointments during and after pregnancy. Visit with your healthcare provider for all recommended appointments. If you’re concerned about going to your appointments because of COVID-19, ask your healthcare provider what steps they are taking to separate healthy patients from those who might be sick or ask about telemedicine options. If you need help finding a healthcare provider, contact your nearest hospital clinic, community health center external iconor health department.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about how to stay healthy and take care of yourself and your baby.
- Ask questions you have about the best place to deliver your baby. Delivering your baby is always safest under the care of trained healthcare professionals.
- You should also talk to your healthcare provider if you think you are experiencing depression during or after pregnancy.
- Get recommended vaccines during pregnancy. These vaccines can help protect you and your baby.
- Get a flu vaccine every year. Others living in your household should also get vaccinated to protect themselves and you.
- Get the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine during pregnancy to protect your baby against whooping cough, which can have similar symptoms to COVID-19. CDC recommends all women receive a Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy.
- Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your pregnancy or if you get sick or think that you may have COVID-19.
- Do not delay getting emergency care because of COVID-19. Emergency departments have steps in place to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care. If you need emergency help, call 911 right away.
- 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 diagnosed with COVID-19, learn about caring for newborns when the mother has COVID-19.
Read information about breastfeeding and caring for newborns.