Pregnant People Guidance
CDC and IDPH recommend that all pregnant and breastfeeding people stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines to help protect them and their baby from severe infection
What is the risk to people who are pregnant of getting COVID-19?
Although the overall risks are low, people who are pregnant or recently pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness, including hospitalization, intensive care, and ventilator use, from COVID-19 when compared to people who are not pregnant. Having certain underlying medical conditions and other factors, including age, can further increase the risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness during or recently after pregnancy (for at least 42 days following end of pregnancy).
How can pregnant people protect themselves from getting COVID-19?
The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant get a COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding people.
If you would like to speak to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, MotherToBaby experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish. This is a free and confidential service. Call 1-866-626-6847 or chat live or send an email: https://mothertobaby.org/ask-an-expert/
In addition to vaccination, people who are pregnant should wear a well-fitting mask that covers the nose and mouth especially in areas with high or medium community-level transmission. They should avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Family and household members of pregnant people should get a COVID-19 vaccine as well.
Where can I get vaccinated?
If a pregnant person has COVID-19 during pregnancy, will it hurt the baby?
People who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are also at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and stillbirth and might be at increased risk for other pregnancy complications.
Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant person to the fetus or newborn?
Yes, it is possible for COVID-19 to be transmitted from a pregnant person to a fetus. It is rare, however, and most likely to happen when a person is infected during their third trimester.
Infants can also be infected with COVID-19 shortly after birth. Most newborns experience mild symptoms, although there have been severe cases. Anyone caring for newborn children should take precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection, including staying up to date on vaccinations.
Can people with COVID-19 breastfeed?
There is no evidence that COVID-19 is present in breastmilk. The CDC, WHO, and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine all support breastfeeding by a parent with known or suspected COVID-19. Because COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, breastfeeding parents infected with COVID-19 can help prevent transmission while breastfeeding using the flowing steps:
- Practice respiratory hygiene during feeding, including wearing a well-fitting, high quality mask
- wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before each feeding
- routinely clean and disinfect surfaces they have touched
Can people who are breastfeeding receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, IDPH and CDC recommend that people who are breastfeeding stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding people who received an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) were shown to have antibodies in their breastmilk, which may help protect their babies from COVID-19.
Can people touch and hold their newborn baby if they have COVID-19?
Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding help a baby to thrive. Caregivers diagnosed with COVID-19 can:
- breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene
- hold your newborn skin-to-skin
- share a room with your baby
You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby and keep all surfaces clean.
Last Updated: 08/02/2022