Everything you need to know about COVID-19 and pregnancy

October 21, 2020

Because the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new disease, healthcare providers and medical researchers are still learning about the virus.

COVID-19 is called a pandemic because the disease has spread to the U.S. and around the world. Here is the latest information about the disease and how it affects pregnant people:

  • Many pregnant people with COVID-19 have not had any symptoms of the virus, according to research. This is also called being asymptomatic.
  • However, pregnant people who are older, have a higher body mass index (BMI) or have pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or gestational diabetes may have more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Pregnant people might have a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Pregnant people with COVID-19 also may be more likely to need a ventilator to breathe compared with non-pregnant people.
  • Pregnant people are more likely to be admitted to the hospital and more likely to need care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) if they have COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant.
  • People who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 may have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, such as blood clots, injury to the placenta (the placenta grows in the uterus and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord), preterm birth, preeclampsia, emergency Cesarean (c-section) delivery or pregnancy loss.

Can you give COVID-19 to your baby during pregnancy?

It may be possible for a pregnant person with COVID-19 to transmit the virus to her baby. After birth, a newborn can become infected after being in close contact with an infected person, including the baby’s parents or other caregivers. A small number of babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after they were born. A baby was recently born in Texas during a C-section delivery and tested positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours after birth. However, it is not clear whether these babies became infected before, during or after birth. More research is needed in this area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all babies born to people with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) get tested for the virus. Read more from the CDC about pregnancy and COVID-19.

When can you be around others after having COVID-19?

According to the CDC, if you think or know you had COVID-19 and had the symptoms of the virus, you can be around others after:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. However, loss of taste and smell continues for weeks or months after you recover. You do not need to continue to isolate if those symptoms continue but all others improve.

Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others. However, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can be around others again based on your test results.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms:

  • If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19. Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others. However, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can be around others again based on your test results.
  • If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the advice above for “if you think or know you had COVID-19 and had symptoms.”

If you were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a severely weakened immune system (immunocompromised) due to a health condition or medication:

  • You might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared.
  • You may require testing to determine when you can be around others.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider for more information. If testing is available in your community, it may be recommended by your provider. Your provider will let you know if you can be around other people again based on the results of your testing.
  • Your doctor may work with an infectious disease expert or your local health department to determine if testing is necessary before you can be around others.

If you’ve been around a person with COVID-19, you should stay home for 14 days after the last time you saw that person. However, if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and had COVID-19 in the last 3 months, have recovered and continue not to have COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to stay at home.

At this time, we don’t know if someone can be re-infected with COVID-19. Research shows that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. As of now, there are no confirmed reports of a person being reinfected with COVID-19 within 3 months of their first infection. If you have recovered from COVID-19 and have new symptoms of the virus, you may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if you’ve had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. You should isolate yourself from others and call your provider to be evaluated.

To learn more about COVID-19 and pregnancy visit marchofdimes.org/COVID19

Last updated September 29, 2020