ACOG: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients
How does COVID-19 affect pregnant and recently pregnant women?
Researchers are still learning how COVID-19 affects pregnant and recently pregnant women. Current reports suggest that pregnant and recently pregnant women have a higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19 than nonpregnant women. Reports note that:
- Pregnant women who have COVID-19 and show symptoms are more likely than nonpregnant women with COVID-19 and symptoms to need care in an intensive care unit (ICU), to need a ventilator (for breathing support), or to die from the illness. Still, the overall risk of severe illness and death for pregnant women is low.
- Pregnant and recently pregnant women with some health conditions, such as obesity and gestational diabetes, may have an even higher risk of severe illness, similar to nonpregnant women with these conditions.
- Pregnant women who are Black or Hispanic have a higher rate of illness and death from COVID-19 than other pregnant women, but not because of biology. Black and Hispanic women are more likely to face social, health, and economic inequities that put them at greater risk of illness. To learn more about these inequities, see this page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How can COVID-19 affect a fetus?
Remember that researchers are learning more about COVID-19 all the time. Some researchers are looking specifically at COVID-19 and its possible effects on a fetus. Here’s what they know now:
- Researchers have found a few cases of COVID-19 that may have passed to a fetus during pregnancy, but this seems to be rare.
- Researchers have studied COVID-19 infection, preterm birth, and stillbirth. Some studies suggest there may be an increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth for women with COVID-19. Other studies have not found this to be true. But information is still l
- imited. Researchers are continuing to study these outcomes to better understand the effects of COVID-19 before birth.
After birth, a newborn can get the virus if they are exposed to it.
Current reports suggest that pregnant and recently pregnant women have a higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19 than nonpregnant womenThe American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy?
Yes, you should get a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. ACOG recommends that all pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID-19. Getting a vaccine could help both you and your fetus. Remember that pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 than nonpregnant women. The vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death.
A growing amount of data confirms that COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy. Scientists have compared the pregnancies of women who have received COVID-19 vaccines and women who have not. The reports show that these women have had similar pregnancy outcomes. Data do not show any safety concerns.
If you are pregnant and want to know more about the vaccines, you can talk with your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional. This conversation is not required to get a vaccine, though it may be helpful. You can discuss your risk of getting COVID-19 and your risk of severe illness if you get sick.
Learn more from the CDC about COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
Should breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, ACOG recommends that breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stop breastfeeding if you want to get a vaccine. When you get vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body may be passed through breastmilk and may help protect your child from the virus.
Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am trying to get pregnant?
Yes, if you are planning or trying to get pregnant, you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility. You also do not need to delay getting pregnant after you get a vaccine.
Some COVID-19 vaccines will require two doses. If you find out you are pregnant after you have the first dose, you should still get the second dose.