What You Need to Know
Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people.
Having certain underlying medical conditions, and other factors, including age, can further increase a pregnant or recently pregnant (for at least 42 days following end of pregnancy) person’s risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness.
Pregnant people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and might be at increased risk for other poor pregnancy outcomes.
Pregnant and recently pregnant people and those who live with or visit them need to take steps to protect themselves from getting sick with COVID-19.
Increased Risk of Severe Illness
Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people1-4. Changes that occur in the body during pregnancy that increase risk for severe illness from respiratory viral infections like COVID-19 can continue after pregnancy. For example, increased risk for developing blood clots during pregnancy can continue after pregnancy and increase the risk for severe illness, as in recently pregnant people with H1N1 influenza. Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may need:
A ventilator or special equipment to help them breathe
People with COVID-19 who become severely ill can die. See why pregnancy is included in the list of underlying medical conditions that increase a person’s risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Certain Factors Can Increase Risk
Other factors can further increase a pregnant or recently pregnant person’s risk for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19, such as having certain underlying medical conditions or being older than 25 years3. People with an underlying medical condition should continue to follow the treatment plan prescribed by their healthcare provider.
The environments where pregnant and recently pregnant people live, learn, work, play, and worship can also affect their health risks and outcomes, such as getting sick with COVID-19 or developing severe illness. For example, people such as pregnant healthcare workers who work in places where they cannot keep at least 6 feet apart from people who might be sick are more likely to get sick and develop severe illness from COVID-19. Also, longstanding systemic health and social inequities have put pregnant people from some racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19.
Effect on Pregnancy Outcomes
Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth2,5 (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and might be at increased risk for other poor outcomes related to pregnancy compared to pregnant people without COVID-19. Other poor pregnancy outcomes, such as pregnancy loss2, have been reported.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talking with your healthcare professional might help, but is not required.
If you are pregnant and have questions about COVID-19 vaccine If you would like to speak to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, you can contact MotherToBaby. MotherToBaby experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish by phone or chat. The free and confidential service is available Monday–Friday 8am–5pm (local time). To reach MotherToBaby:
Chat live or send an email MotherToBaby
If you decide to get vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic after you are fully vaccinated. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.