This article was last updated on March 15, 2021.
Pregnancy can be both exciting and nerve-wracking from the moment you find out you’re expecting to the day you have your baby — and filled with many questions (and maybe even a few worries) along the way.
Now, with COVID-19 in the mix, you might have more things to consider, like: navigating care appointments without your partner, whether or not you should get the COVID-19 vaccine, how to take extra precautions if your pregnancy is higher-risk, whether or not it’s safe to have a baby shower, and what a hospital delivery will look like. (Yes, you may have to wear a mask.)
We’ve reviewed guidance from reputable sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Site and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) External Site to create this guide for navigating pregnancy during a global pandemic.
The COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy
If you're wondering if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, you're not alone. Pregnant women were not included in the clinical vaccine trials, so knowledge is currently limited. However, the CDC is now tracking more than 30,000 vaccine recipients who were pregnant when they received the vaccine External Site. So far, the vaccine's side effects don't look any different for people who are pregnant and those who are not pregnant. And, no miscarriages, stillbirths or preterm births linked to the vaccine have been reported.
As always, it's important to talk to your doctor. They can help you consider important factors, like your possible exposure risks to COVID-19 and any underlying medical conditions that could increase your risk for a more severe COVID-19 infection.
What to expect: prenatal appointments
There are a lot of medical appointments during pregnancy, from routine visits where your doctor measures how your baby is growing and listens to its heartbeat to blood draws, ultrasounds, and more. Though every clinic is different, you can probably expect some of these safety measures and restrictions:
- Significant others not allowed except for ultrasounds
- Masks and temperature checks required for entry
- Waiting in your car before your appointments
- Fewer appointments or some appointments done virtually
It’s important to go to all your scheduled prenatal appointments, which help keep both you and your baby healthy. If you have concerns about exposure to COVID-19, talk to your doctor about making extra accommodations, if possible.
Questions in between appointments?
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members can get trusted answers and find helpful resources with the Pregnancy Support Program through myWellmark® Opens New Window. The free program, which is available 24/7 and includes optional access to one-on-one support from an advanced care nurse, includes the WebMD® Pregnancy Assistant, Count the Kicks® app, and more. Wellmark members can also get answers to health-related questions day or night (yes, even 3 a.m.) with BeWell 24/7SM.
What to expect: hospital delivery
Even during a pandemic, a hospital or hospital-based birth center External Site is a safe setting where skilled doctors, midwives and nurses can assist in a healthy and smooth delivery.
If you’ve given birth in a hospital before, some policies may have changed due to COVID-19. For example, there may be restrictions on the number of visitors or support people you can have during labor and after delivery, and you may have a shorter-than-normal hospital stay. If you have concerns about how COVID-19 may impact your plans for delivery, talk to your doctor.
Keeping yourself (and your baby) safe and healthy
While there’s a lot we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, there is data from the CDC External Site that suggests pregnant people who contract COVID-19 may have more serious symptoms than non-pregnant people with COVID-19.
To avoid the coronavirus, you can take basic steps to stay healthy, such as:
- Staying home as much as possible (except for scheduled prenatal appointments)
- Keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others if you do leave home
- Wearing a mask or other protective face covering in public
- Washing your hands properly and using hand sanitizer regularly if you can’t wash them
To avoid unnecessary trips out of the house, consider ordering household supplies and groceries online if possible and keep a good amount of essentials on hand and in your pantry, including at least 30 days of all medications. If you have other children, arrange for your partner or someone else to take them to school or daycare and other places like medical appointments.
If you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone — pandemics can increase fear, anxiety, and stress in everyone. However, it’s important to try to keep your stress under control External Site, as it can impact your health and the health of your baby. If you think you may be experiencing antepartum depression, or depression during pregnancy External Site, ask your doctor about your options right away.
Manage your health with myWellmark
In addition to the Pregnancy Support Program, myWellmark can help you manage all aspects of your health during pregnancy. It gives you a transparent look into your health care usage and easy-to-use tools, resources, and insights. You can check claims details, view health care spending, find an in-network doctor, use tools to understand your benefits and more. And, you have access to wellness tools and resources from WebMD®.
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- NPR.org — Safe Pregnancy As COVID-19 Surges: What's Best For Mom And Baby? External Site
- CDC.gov — If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, or Caring for Young Children External Site
- ACOG.org — Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients External Site
- WhatToExpect.com — What to Know About Coronavirus if You're Pregnant External Site