What you need to know about COVID-19 (coronavirus) & pregnancy

It’s OK to be worried about how the current pandemic might affect you & your pregnancy. We’re here to answer some questions you might have

Being pregnant in these uncertain times can raise all kinds of questions and concerns. We’re here to help you understand what COVID-19 (coronavirus) means for you as a mum-to-be, what symptoms you need to look out for and what can happen if you catch COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Am I more at risk of coronavirus because I'm pregnant?

While there’s no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus, they have been placed on the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable).

This is purely a precautionary measure because pregnant women can sometimes be more at risk of viruses like the flu, although it’s not yet clear if this happens with coronavirus.

If you’re currently pregnant and have an underlying health issue such as heart disease, you may fall into the higher risk category and should have received a letter from the NHS about shielding. Speak to your midwife or GP if you haven’t had a letter and think you might be in the high risk category.

How can I help protect myself from coronavirus while pregnant?

Regular hand washing (thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, and using antiviral hand gel when you’re out and about and have no access to clean water) and following the latest advice on social distancing are the best ways to help reduce the risk of catching coronavirus.

If you’re pregnant you should also try to stay at home as much as you can, to limit the possibility of coming into contact with people who have COVID-19. If someone you know has coronavirus symptoms, avoid them until they’re out of isolation or have a negative test result.

You should still go out for essentials and exercise, and to attend your medical and midwife appointments, unless you’re told not to or have symptoms of coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

• Fever (higher than 37.8 degrees)

• Cough (usually dry and continuous)

• Loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you have any of these symptoms, you should self-isolate, book a COVID-19 test (or local equivalent) and contact your midwife or maternity team for advice. You may need to rearrange some of your maternity appointments, or have them via phone or video call.

Other possible symptoms of coronavirus include:

• Shortness of breath

• Headache

• Sore throat

• Aches and pains

• Fatigue

• Diarrhoea

If you have any of the above symptoms and you’re not sure what to do, get in touch with your midwife or maternity team, or use the NHS 111 online service (or local equivalent). If you think you have coronavirus, please do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital.

Read our guide to coronavirus symptoms for more information and how to look after yourself if you have coronavirus.

What can happen if I get coronavirus while I'm pregnant?

If you do get coronavirus, try not to worry. Most pregnant women only experience mild or moderate symptoms. The important thing is to look after yourself and follow the advice of your midwife or maternity team.

There’s no evidence to suggest coronavirus causes miscarriage or affects the development of your unborn baby. While it’s possible you could pass the virus on to your baby before they’re born, it’s only happened in a small number of cases so far.

Don’t forget, it’s normal to have questions and concerns during pregnancy, especially at this unusual time. Your maternity team are always happy to talk through any worries you might have, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.