Woman receiving a test while dealing with COVID and pregnancy | Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey

COVID and Pregnancy

What are the risks of contracting COVID during pregnancy?

The overall risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women is minimal. However, women who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are at increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19. Severe illness means that a person might need to be hospitalized, have intensive care or be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing.

Some of the findings on COVID-19 and pregnancy follow.

  • Pregnant patients with COVID-19 are at an increased risk for severe illness compared with nonpregnant patients.
  • Pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to deliver a baby before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy (preterm birth). Pregnant women with COVID-19 might also be at increased risk of problems such as stillbirth and pregnancy loss.
  • Pregnant women who are Black or Hispanic are more likely to be affected by infection with the COVID-19 virus. Pregnant women who have other medical conditions, such as diabetes, also might be at even higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.
  • Pregnant women with COVID-19 have three times the risk for being in the ICU and being put on a ventilator. Compared with nonpregnant women, they have a 70% greater risk of death.


Pregnant patients with other medical issues and patients aged 35 or older have even higher risks of adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes. Pregnant patients with moderate to severe disease have a higher rate of cesarean delivery and hypertensive disorders.

Pregnant woman or those who were recently pregnant are more likely to get severe COVID than are people who are not pregnant. Body changes during pregnancy could make it easier to get very ill from COVID and other respiratory viruses. These changes in the body can persist after pregnancy.

Women with COVID who are pregnant may be more likely to have complications in pregnancy than healthy pregnant women. High blood pressure, heavy bleeding after birth and some infections can affect such complications. This is particularly true for pregnant women with moderate and severe illness. They may have an elevated risk of coagulopathy (a blood clotting disorder).

In addition, Black and Hispanic women are more likely to face social, health and economic inequities that put them at greater risk of illness or contracting COVID and an increased chance of complications if contracted while pregnant.


Have you read our COVID-19 Patient Update on Our Procedures? Learn about our most recent revised office safety protocols and other resources. 
Read more

What to know about COVID and pregnancy if trying to get pregnant

Since pregnant women are known to be at increased risk of severe complications, it’s best to wait to start trying to conceive 10 days after symptoms started or after a positive COVID test. One of the most crucial steps is to get vaccinated and to stay up to date on booster shots. COVID can develop into a life-threatening condition during any pregnancy, but deaths and severe illnesses have been reported more often among women who were not vaccinated.

Once a woman does get pregnant, it’s comforting to know the vaccines are effective during pregnancy. And a growing body of evidence tracking pregnancy outcomes has found no safety concerns.

How can having COVID and getting pregnant affect the baby?

There have only been a few newborns who have tested positive for COVID shortly after birth. It is not known if these newborns contracted the virus before, during or after birth. Nearly all newborns who tested positive for COVID had mild or no symptoms and recovered.

According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), research has shown that the cells of the placenta don’t pass COVID to a developing baby. Due to this, the chance that a baby will be born with COVID is very low. In fact once a baby is born, breastmilk can provide protection against many illnesses and this also seems to be true for COVID. When a pregnant person has antibodies against COVID after being vaccinated or having the virus, those antibodies can be passed to the baby through breastmilk. The antibodies help babies gain immunity that can protect them from COVID.

Overall, it’s not likely that a fetus will get COVID, and COVID during pregnancy seldom causes serious short-term problems for the pregnant woman or her child. Severe COVID during pregnancy does increase the risk of pregnancy issues, such as preterm birth, that can affect the baby’s development long term.


COVID-19 Vaccines and Fertility Podcasts

Listen to Dr. Martinez’s podcast where he discusses the correlation between the COVID-19 vaccine, pregnancy and fertility.

COVID Vaccine and Fertility


Our protocols for patients with COVID undergoing fertility treatments

There is ample scientific knowledge that the virus is not inside the embryo as it cannot survive there. Therefore, our practice protocols for patients with COVID or long COVID who want to undergo fertility treatments that require embryo(s) storage are the same as other patients in treatment. Our practice doesn’t provide special embryo storage or protocols for patients with COVID as it is not a requirement.

For patients who contract COVID while undergoing fertility treatment, we adhere to the current guidelines depending on when they have been infected and how the virus may affect their specific treatment. If they are actively infected, we would not recommend proceeding until they recovered. The protocol for patients with COVID who have appointments in the office is that if someone has symptoms, we require masking.

Should patients get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are pregnant or thinking about it?

Current data shows that COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective. The COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant now, might get pregnant in the future, or are breastfeeding.

COVID-19 vaccinations are very good at preventing severe illness from COVID-19. The vaccines seem to be equally effective in pregnant and nonpregnant people.


For additional COVID-19 questions, please call the office as we are here to help.

Other recommended resources:

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