If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you may be concerned about how COVID-19 infection may affect your health and your pregnancy.
Can COVID-19 cause health problems during pregnancy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is low during pregnancy, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness compared to non-pregnant people.
Severe illness includes illness that results in intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation or death. Pregnant people with COVID-19 may also be at increased risk for other poor outcomes, including preterm birth. This is when you give birth earlier than 37 weeks.
Conditions that may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 during pregnancy include:
- Having certain health conditions
- Your age
- Conditions where you live, work, learn, play and worship
For example, if you work in a setting where you can’t keep your distance from sick people, you may be at increased risk of being infected with COVID-19 and having severe illness. Pregnant health care providers are more likely to get COVID-19 than others who don’t work with sick people. Health and social inequities put pregnant people from some racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19 as well.
I think I have COVID-19. What should I do?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, call your health care provider. Tell your provider that you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. They can advise you on COVID testing.
If I’m pregnant or breastfeeding is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. The CDC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) now recommend that pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding people and those considering pregnancy receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect these people from severe illness caused by COVID-19.
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. The data suggests that the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy. There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
Daniel R. Kuritzkes, MD, is chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In the video below, he answers common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including those related to vaccination and pregnancy.
How can pregnant people protect themselves from COVID-19?
If you’re pregnant, these tips can help you protect yourself from infection:
- Practice physical distancing and wear a mask.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially if you’ve been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Help prevent the spread of infection at home.
- Take advantage of virtual care visits with health care providers, if available.
How can I get my COVID-19 vaccine at Mass General Brigham?
Get the latest COVID-19 vaccine distribution information.
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.