What Pregnant Moms Should Know About COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Manuel Alvarez, M.D. contributes to topics such as Obstetrics and Gynecology.

For pregnant moms, one of the biggest concerns you may have around COVID-19 is how the illness affects you and your baby. While there is much we still have to learn about this new coronavirus, we’re here to help with answers to some of the more frequent questions we are hearing.

Are pregnant moms at greater risk for COVID-19?

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says currently it is difficult to know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.

“Normally, women who are pregnant experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections,” says Manuel Alvarez, M.D. chairman of the OB-GYN department at Hackensack University Medical Center. “With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing more severe pulmonary complications.”

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. Early research suggests that the virus doesn’t appear to pass from mother to fetus in the womb.

As of this writing, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to the CDC.

If a pregnant woman has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?

It’s still a bit unclear if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19. While there have been reports of some pre-term births, experts say it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal COVID-19 infection.

Should pregnant women continue to go to checkups and appointments?

“Each woman’s pregnancy is different,” says Dr. Alvarez. You should be in close contact with your OB-GYN about your appointment schedule and ask if telehealth visits may be an appropriate option for you and your baby to reduce the chance of illness.

How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?

Women who are pregnant should do the same things that everyone is doing to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Stay home as much as possible if there are widespread cases in your town

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.