Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the risks?

Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the risks?
Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the risks?

It is usual for pregnant parents to have concerns about the health of their newborn during and after hospital delivery. However, what should you do if you are about to give birth and have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?

Regarding COVID-19, much remains to be learned. Let’s examine what you can expect when it’s time to give birth and the precautions that can be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.

If I have COVID-19 when I give birth, would my infant become ill?

In the first few days after birth, relatively few infants born to moms with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus. In addition, there are no reported reports of SARS-CoV-2-infected neonates who died during their initial hospitalization following birth. Virus-infected newborns and young infants may develop ill enough to require hospitalization, but they typically recover.

If I test positive for COVID-19, will my spouse be permitted to be present in the delivery room?

Based on the most recent scientific information, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports enabling women with COVID-19 to have their partner present during labor and delivery. However, each hospital has policies about this matter; verify with the hospital where you want to deliver your child.

While giving birth, you should wear a face mask to prevent the virus from spreading to your baby or others. Your unaffected partner must wear a face covering and adhere to all hospital or birth center safety requirements.

What will occur immediately after the birth of my child?

In the immediate aftermath of birth, your infant will get standard care. For instance, it is customary to wait before clamping the umbilical cord. Unless you are ill, you should be able to hold your infant to your skin. Your newborn will be washed to eradicate any viruses from the skin.

Can my healthy infant stay in the same hospital room if I have COVID-19?

When measures are taken to prevent the spread of the virus, mothers and infants can safely remain together. It is also beneficial and safe for you to breastfeed your child. When immediately caring for your kid, cover your face with a handkerchief and wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Even if they do not have COVID-19, partners and other family members should wear facial covers and wash their hands when holding or caressing the infant.

If your infant stays in your room, maintain a safe distance when you are not immediately caring for them. The hospital may supply a clear plastic-enclosed crib to safeguard your infant from hospital-room viruses. It also allows you to maintain a safe distance while observing your child.

If your symptoms are severe, you may not be able to care for your newborn and yourself safe. In this situation, it may be advisable to stay in a separate room from your infant or have a caregiver who is not infected care for your infant in your room.

Should my newborn get screened at the hospital for COVID-19?

If Covid testing is available, then yes. Typically, newborns of moms with COVID-19 are tested between 24 and 48 hours after birth. If the test is positive, your infant may be tested every 48 to 72 hours until two consecutive tests are negative.

Plan to follow up with your baby’s pediatrician frequently within the first 14 days after birth if they test positive but do not exhibit symptoms.

Can I visit my infant if they must be in the NICU?

Most neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) restrict visitors during the pandemic to protect infants from contracting the virus. If you or your spouse have proven or suspected COVID-19, you should avoid visiting the NICU as long as you are contagious.

If a mother cannot visit the NICU, she is advised to pump breast milk for her infant.

What will I do when I get home with my newborn?

At home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before holding or contacting your infant. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. In addition to basic hand hygiene, continue to use a face covering until:

  • You have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications, and it has been at least 10 days since the onset of your symptoms.
  • A minimum of 10 days must have passed following the positive test if no symptoms were present.
  • At least ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and they have improved.
  • Ten days had passed since a positive pregnancy test when you presented for delivery.

If anyone in your family has COVID-19, they should, whenever feasible, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the infant. If they must care for your infant, they should wear a face covering and wash their hands.

During the pandemic, remember to take care of yourself as you welcome your new child into your home. In normal circumstances, adjusting to life with a newborn can be difficult. With a newborn at home during COVID-19, it is essential to seek assistance when necessary.


We continue to discover more about the effects of COVID-19 on infants before, during, and after birth. Call your pediatrician if you have any questions regarding the health of your newborn during the COVID-19 outbreak. Regular medical visits are necessary to ensure that your baby’s development is on track, to discuss nutrition and behavior, and to obtain the necessary vaccinations for your baby’s health. Your pediatrician wants to hear from you because it is safe.

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