If you're pregnant, you may be unsure how coronavirus (COVID-19) could affect you, your baby and your pregnancy care.
It's important to tell your midwife or maternity team if you have symptoms of coronavirus. You should also ask them for help with any other concerns as you usually would.
Pregnancy and your risk
There's no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus.
But pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution.
This is because pregnant women can sometimes be more at risk from viruses like flu.
It's not clear if this happens with coronavirus. But because it's a new virus, it's safer to include pregnant women in the moderate-risk group.
It may be possible for you to pass coronavirus to your baby before they are born. But when this has happened, the babies have got better.
There's no evidence coronavirus causes miscarriage or affects how your baby develops in pregnancy.
For more information about things that can increase your risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, see who's at higher risk from coronavirus.
What to do if you're pregnant
If you're pregnant, it's important you:
- wash your hands regularly
- stay at home as much as possible and follow the advice on social distancing, such as staying at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
- stay away from anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus
You still need to go to all of your pregnancy (antenatal) scans and appointments unless you're told not to.
Appointments and scans
You'll still have regular appointments and scans while you're pregnant. But there may be some changes.
You may find that:
- some midwife appointments are online, by phone or by video call
- you may be asked to wear a mask or gown when you're in a hospital or clinic
- some appointments may be cancelled or rescheduled – if an appointment is cancelled, it will be rescheduled, or you'll be able to rebook it
This is to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of coronavirus.
If you're unsure if you can bring your partner to your appointment, ask your midwife or maternity team.
If you're well, it's really important you go to all your appointments and scans for the health of you and your baby.
Hospitals and clinics are making sure it's safe for pregnant women to go to appointments.
Non-urgent advice: Call your midwife or maternity team if:
- you've missed an appointment and need to book another one
- you have any questions about your care or appointments
- you do not know when your next appointment is
- you have symptoms of coronavirus
If you get symptoms of coronavirus
If you get any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste):
- Stay at home (self-isolate) – you and anyone you live with should not leave your home or have visitors. Anyone in your support bubble should also self-isolate if you've been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
- Book a test – get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, should also get a test if they have symptoms.
- Speak to your midwife or maternity team – they will advise you what to do. You may need to rebook some of your pregnancy appointments or have them online, by phone or as a video consultation.
What is a support bubble?
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from 1 other household.
Find out more about making a support bubble with another household on GOV.UK.
If you're worried about your symptoms or not sure what to do, get advice from the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
If you have any other symptoms
If you have any other symptoms, or anything else you're worried about, you should still get medical help as you usually would.
You can still have GP appointments or speak to your midwife or maternity team if you have any questions.
Urgent advice: Call your midwife or maternity team immediately if:
- your baby is moving less than usual
- you cannot feel your baby moving
- there is a change to your baby's usual pattern of movements
- you have any bleeding from your vagina
- you're feeling very anxious or worried
- you have a headache that does not go away
- you get shortness of breath when resting or lying down
Do not wait until the next day – call immediately, even if it's the middle of the night.
If you do not have a midwife or maternity team call a GP or use the NHS 111 online service. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Immediate action required: Call 999 if:
- you feel very unwell or think there's something seriously wrong
- you have severe chest pain
Labour and birth
It's really important you have a midwife with you when you give birth to keep you and your baby safe.
If you and your baby are well, you may be able to give birth at home, in a midwifery-led unit or in a birth centre.
If you've had any complications during your pregnancy you may be advised to give birth in a unit led by a doctor (obstetrician).
There may also be some changes to what usually happens where you plan to give birth, because of coronavirus.
Speak to your midwife or maternity team for more information.
You can also read more about signs that labour has begun.
Having a birth partner is important for your safety and wellbeing during labour and birth.
You'll be able to have a birth partner during labour and the birth if they do not have symptoms of coronavirus. But there may be limits on how long they can stay after the birth.
If your birth partner has symptoms, they may not be able to come with you. You might want to have a backup birth partner just in case.
If you have coronavirus and go into labour
If you have symptoms of coronavirus and go into labour, you'll be advised to give birth in a unit led by a doctor (obstetrician). This is so the team can look after you and your baby more closely.
You'll be cared for in an area within the maternity unit that's just for women with coronavirus.
You may see the midwives and maternity team wearing aprons, masks or eye protection. These things are to keep you, your baby and the staff caring for you safe, and to stop the spread of infection.
Having coronavirus should not have any impact on whether you have a vaginal or caesarean birth.
Your maternity team has been advised on how to keep you and your baby safe. They will make sure you get the best care and respect your birth choices as closely as possible.
After the birth
After your baby is born, you should be able to have skin-to-skin contact unless your baby is unwell and needs care in the neonatal unit.
You'll also be encouraged to breastfeed. There's no evidence coronavirus can be passed on to your baby in breast milk, so the benefits of breastfeeding and the protection it offers outweigh any risks.
As well as enjoying this time with your newborn baby, it’s important to be aware of any signs they might be unwell. At the moment it can be hard to know what to do – but trust your instincts and get medical help if you think your baby needs it.
For example, it’s common for babies to get newborn jaundice. Jaundice is usually harmless, but it’s important to be able to recognise the symptoms and to get medical help if your baby has them.
If you have any questions or need help
If you have any questions or concerns at any time, speak to your midwife or maternity team.
If you need help with day-to-day things, you can also call the NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646.
They can help you with things like:
- doing shopping
- picking up prescriptions
- taking you to appointments or hospital
You can also:
- get more information about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology
- read a leaflet about planning your birth (PDF 823kb) from NHS England
- read a leaflet about looking after yourself and your baby in pregnancy (PDF 653kb) from NHS England
- read a leaflet about parent information for newborn babies (PDF 794kb) from NHS England
- read translated versions of pregnancy leaflets from NHS England
Video: pregnancy and coronavirus (BSL version)
This animation sets out what pregnant women should expect from NHS maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Media review due: 28 April 2023