Pregnancy and Infants

Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19. Therefore, if you are pregnant, be mindful about reducing your risk of getting sick.

Pregnant women should engage in everyday preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often, avoiding close contact with sick people, covering your mouth and nose with a mask, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Much is still unknown about the risks of COVID-19 of newborns born to mothers with COVID-19. Preterm (early) birth and other problems with pregnancy and birth, have been reported in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19. We do not know if these problems were related to the virus.Therefore, if you are pregnant, be mindful about reducing your risk of getting sick.

Pregnant healthcare personnel (HCP) should follow risk assessment and infection control guidelines for HCP exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcare settings.

Information on COVID-19 in pregnancy is very limited; facilities may want to consider limiting exposure of pregnant HCP to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, especially during higher risk procedures (e.g., aerosol-generating procedures) if feasible based on staffing availability.

Current evidence suggests that the risk of a newborn getting COVID-19 from its mother is low, especially when she uses appropriate precautions before and during care of the newborn, such as wearing a mask and practicing hand hygiene; however, newborns can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after being in close contact with an infected person. Some babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth, but it is unknown if these babies got the virus before, during, or after birth. Most newborns who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. However, there are a few reports of newborns with severe COVID-19 illness.

We do not know for sure if mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus to babies in their breast milk, but the limited data available suggest this is not likely.

Most newborns who have tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and have recovered fully. However, there are a few reports of newborns with severe illness.

Based on limited reports, adverse infant outcomes (e.g., preterm birth) have been reported among infants born to mothers positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy. However, it is not clear that these outcomes were related to maternal infection.

CDC recognizes that the ideal setting for the care of a healthy, full-term newborn during the birth hospitalization is within the mother’s room (“rooming-in”). If you are diagnosed with or test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, you should discuss with your healthcare provider the risks and benefits of having your newborn stay in the same room with you. This conversation should begin during prenatal care if possible.

Having your newborn stay with you in the same room has the benefit of facilitating breastfeeding and maternal-newborn bonding. Potential risks may include giving the virus to the newborn, although current evidence suggests the risk of a newborn getting COVID-19 from their mother is low if precautions are taken. After discussing, make an informed decision of whether your newborn is staying in the same room with you while in the hospital.

If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take the following precautions to reduce the risk 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 mask when within 6 feet of your newborn.
  • Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible.
  • Discuss with your healthcare provider about using a physical barrier (for example, placing the newborn in an incubator) while in the hospital.

At this time, there is no information on long-term health effects on infants with COVID-19, or those exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 in utero.

We do not know for sure if mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus to babies in their breast milk, but the limited data available suggest this is not likely.

If you have COVID-19 and choose to breastfeed: Wear a mask while breastfeeding and wash your hands before each feeding.

If you have COVID-19 and choose to express breast milk: Use a dedicated breast pump, wear a mask during expression and wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk, follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use, cleaning all parts that come into contact with breast milk and if possible, expressed breast milk should be fed to the infant by a healthy caregiver who does not have COVID-19, is not at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and is living in the same home.

It is recommended that you do not skip your prenatal care appointments or postpartum appointments.  If you are concerned about attending your appointment due to COVID-19, talk to your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider how they are taking steps to separate healthy patients from those who may be sick. Some healthcare providers might choose to cancel or postpone some visits. Others may switch certain appointments to telemedicine visits, which are appointments over the phone or video. These decisions will be based on the circumstances in your community as well as your individual care plan.

Do not delay getting emergency care because of COVID-19.

Call your healthcare provider if you have an urgent medical question. In case of emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency department. If you are not driving, call the emergency department on the way to explain that you are pregnant and have an emergency. They should have an infection prevention plan to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need emergency care.

Although there is no vaccine available to protect against the virus that causes COVID-19, routine vaccines are an important part of protecting your health. Receiving some vaccines during pregnancy, such as the influenza (flu) and Tdap vaccines, can help protect you and your baby. If you are pregnant, you should continue to receive your recommended vaccines. Talk with your healthcare provider about visits for vaccines during pregnancy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents of infants may experience increased stress and fatigue that could affect their infants’ sleep practices. Safe sleep is an important part of keeping infants healthy, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have an infant, you can help reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths by doing the following:

  • Place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times – naps and at night.
  • Use a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Have the baby share your room but not your bed. Your baby should not sleep on an adult bed, cot, air mattress, or couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not cover your baby’s head or allow your baby to get too hot. Signs your baby may be getting too hot include if he or she is sweating or if his or her chest feels hot.
  • Do not smoke or allow anyone to smoke around your baby.

Ideally, newborn visits should be done in person so that your pediatric healthcare provider can check your baby’s growth and feeding, check your baby for jaundice, make sure your baby’s newborn screening tests were done, and get any repeat or follow-up testing, if necessary. Ask your healthcare provider how they are taking steps to separate healthy patients from those who may be sick. Some health care providers may choose to delay visits like well child checks and routine vaccine visits. These decisions will be based on circumstances in your community and your child’s individual care plan. Call your provider’s office to ask about any upcoming appointments or about when your child’s vaccinations are due.

Vaccines are also an important part of keeping your child healthy, especially if your child is under 2 years old. Vaccines help provide immunity before being exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Although there is not yet a vaccine to help protect against COVID-19, vaccines for illnesses such as measles, influenza (flu), whooping cough (pertussis), and other infectious diseases are important for your child’s health. This will help to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases among young children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No. A mask or ace shield could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental suffocation and strangulation. Babies move frequently and their movement may cause the plastic face shield to block their nose and mouth, or cause the strap to strangle them.

There are also no data supporting the use of face shields among babies for protection against COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses.

For current information and additional reading, you can check out the CDC’s website: CDC COVID-19 Pregnancy,Breastfeeding and Caring for NewbornsWebsite

Page last reviewed: September 21, 2020