Q: Are pregnant women more susceptible to infection, or at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality with COVID-19, compared with the general public?
A: We do not have information from published scientific reports about the susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Pregnant women also might be at risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality compared to the general population as observed in cases of other related coronavirus infections [including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)] and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, during pregnancy. Pregnant women should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.
Q: Are pregnant women with COVID-19 at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes?
A: We do not have information on adverse pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19. Pregnancy loss, including miscarriage and stillbirth, has been observed in cases of infection with other related coronaviruses [SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV] during pregnancy. High fevers during the first trimester of pregnancy can increase the risk of certain birth defects.
Q: Can pregnant women with COVID-19 pass the virus to their fetus or newborn (i.e. vertical transmission)?
A: The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly by close contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets. Whether a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or neonate by other routes of vertical transmission (before, during, or after delivery) is still unknown. However, in limited recent case series of infants born to mothers with COVID-19 published in the peer-reviewed literature, none of the infants have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, the virus was not detected in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
Limited information is available about vertical transmission for other coronaviruses (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV) but vertical transmission has not been reported for these infections.
Q: How can pregnant women protect themselves from COVID-19 infection?
A: According to the CDC, pregnant women should take the same protective measures as the general public to avoid infection. These measures include avoiding close contact people who are sick and washing hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be effective.