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Coronavirus and Pregnancy: Keeping You and Your Baby Safe

March 31st, 2020
Pregnant woman sitting on couch

The below information was provided by Catholic Health Services’ Interim Chairman of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Baraa Allaf, MD, FACOG. 

COVID-19 is a new strain of a coronavirus that is spread primarily through coughing and sneezing, or direct contact. Patients infected with any one of these strains of coronavirus may have no symptoms at all, or may have relatively mild symptoms such as fever, cough and fatigue. 

Fortunately, while still very limited, the available evidence about COVID-19 in pregnant women is reassuring. 

Below are some questions and answers that you may find helpful.

Am I at more risk for COVID-19 if I'm pregnant?

There is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get infected with COVID-19 than nonpregnant people. Pregnant women with COVID-19 infection have similar initial symptoms to nonpregnant people – mostly a cough and fever.

Pregnant women do not appear to be more likely to develop severe pneumonia.

How might coronavirus affect my pregnancy? Could I transmit coronavirus to my baby during pregnancy or delivery?

COVID-19 and other similar coronaviruses have never been documented to cross the placenta and infect the unborn baby, and the virus does not appear to be in breastmilk of infected mothers.

Is it safe for me to go to the hospital for a procedure or to deliver at a hospital where there have been COVID-19 cases?

Hospitals are taking great precautions to keep patients and health care providers safe by rescheduling or cancelling unnecessary surgeries.This means more resources to care for patients infected with COVID-19. Currently we are implementing the following steps for the safety and benefit of our patients and their loved ones:

  • Moving visits out of the hospital setting if possible and into outpatient facilities.
  • Evaluating possible COVID-19 patients in a separate area.
  • Separating known or suspected COVID-19 patients from other patients.

Should we hold off on trying to conceive because of COVID-19?

At this time, there's no reason to hold off on trying to get pregnant, but the data we have is really limited. For example, we don't think the virus causes birth defects or increases your risk of miscarriage.

How to prevent infection? 

The best way to prevent infection with COVID-19 while pregnant is to decrease the chance of being exposed to the virus. This means following these key steps:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with people, especially anyone who is ill
  • Clean surfaces frequently – don’t forget your phone, computer, and doorknobs
  • Avoid travel 

For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit the CHS Coronavirus Page.