Caring for Newborns if You Have COVID-19


We still have much to learn about the risks of COVID-19 for newborns of people with COVID-19, however we do know these facts:

  • Although the absolute risks are low, if you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. Additionally, if you have COVID-19 during pregnancy, you are at increased risk of complications that can affect your pregnancy and developing baby.

  • Most newborns of people who had COVID-19 during pregnancy do not have COVID-19 when they are born.

  • Some newborns have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after birth. We don’t know if these newborns got the virus before, during, or after birth.

  • Most newborns who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. Reports say some newborns developed severe COVID-19 illness.

See the latest data on birth and infant outcomes among pregnant women with COVID-19.


Caring for your newborn in the hospital if you have COVID-19

Current evidence suggests that the chance of a newborn getting COVID-19 from their birth parent is low, especially when the parent takes steps (such as wearing a mask and washing hands) to prevent spread before and during care of the newborn.


Decide if your newborn is rooming-in with you in the hospital.

Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of having your newborn stay in the same room with you. Having your newborn stay in the room with you has the benefit of making breastfeeding easier, and it helps with parent-newborn bonding.


Take precautions if your newborn is rooming-in with you in the hospital.

If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take the following steps to reduce the chance of spreading the virus to your newborn:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before holding or caring for your newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Wear a well-fitting mask whenever you are within 6 feet of your newborn.

  • Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can protect your newborn, such as using a physical barrier (for example, placing the newborn in an incubator) while in the hospital.

You most likely will not pass the virus to your newborn or any other close contacts after your isolation period has ended.

  • If you had symptoms, your isolation period ends after:

  • 5 days since symptoms first appeared, and

  • 24 hours with no fever, without fever-reducing medicine, and

  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

  • If you never had symptoms, your isolation period ends after

  • 5 days have passed since you tested positive for COVID-19.


Once your isolation period has ended you should still wear a mask until day 10. After 10 days, you should still wash your hands before caring for your newborn, but you don’t need to take the other precautions. These timeframes do not apply if you have a severely weakened immune system or were severely ill with COVID-19. Please refer to “Quarantine and Isolation” and consult with your health care professional about when it is safe for you to end your isolation period.


Caring for your newborn at home if you have COVID-19

If you are in isolation for COVID-19, take the following precautions until your isolation period has ended:

  • Stay home to separate yourself from others outside your home.

  • Isolate (stay away) from other household members who are not infected, and wear a mask in shared spaces.

  • Have a healthy caregiver who is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and not at higher risk for severe illness provide care for your newborn (see recommendations below).

  • Follow recommended precautions if you must care for your newborn before your isolation period has ended.


Recommended precautions for healthy caregivers helping care for newborns:

  • Caregivers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before touching your newborn. If soap and water are not available, they should use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • If the caregiver is living in the same home or has been in close contact with you, they might have been exposed.

  • People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection:

  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.

  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • Self-tests are one of several options for testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 and may be more convenient than laboratory-based tests and point-of-care tests. Ask your healthcare provider or your local health department if you need help interpreting your test results.

  • Caregivers should wear a mask when they are within 6 feet of your newborn for the entire time you are in isolation, and during their own quarantine after you complete your isolation.

If a healthy caregiver is not available, you can care for your newborn if you are well enough.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching for your newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Wear a mask when within 6 feet of your newborn and other people during your entire isolation period. The mask helps prevent you from spreading the virus to others.

  • Others in your household, and caregivers who have COVID-19, should isolate and avoid caring for the newborn as much as possible. If they have to care for the newborn, they should follow hand washing and mask recommendations above.

You most likely won’t pass the virus to your newborn or any other close contacts after your isolation period has ended.

  • If you had symptoms, your isolation period ends after:

  • 5 days since symptoms first appeared, and

  • 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medicine, and

  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

  • If you never had symptoms, your isolation period ends after

  • 5 days have passed since you tested positive for COVID-19.


Once your isolation period has ended you should still wear a mask until day 10. After 10 days, you should still wash your hands before caring for your newborn, but you don’t need to take the other precautions. These timeframes do not apply if you have a severely weakened immune system or were severely ill with COVID-19. Please refer to “Quarantine and Isolation” and consult with your health care professional about when it’s safe for you to end your isolation period.

Monitor your newborn for COVID-19 symptoms.

If your newborn has one or more of these signs or symptoms, they may have early symptoms of COVID-19 or another illness, and you should contact your healthcare professional.

  • Fever (a temperature of 100.4 or higher is considered an emergency)

  • Lethargy (being overly tired or inactive)

  • Runny nose

  • Cough

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Poor feeding

  • Increased work of breathing or shallow breathing

See CDC’s webpage on Evaluation and Management Considerations for Neonates At Risk for COVID-19 for more information.


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