Pregnancy is an exciting and sometimes stressful experience. Being pregnant during a disease outbreak may add extra anxiety and concern for you and those you care about who are pregnant.
According to the CDC, pregnant people do not appear to be at greater risk of getting COVID-19 but may get sicker when infected with COVID-19. Due to changes that occur during pregnancy, pregnant people may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections. The most important thing you can do is to protect yourself from getting sick. This includes getting the COVID-19 vaccine even if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or currently breastfeeding. For more information, please see COVID-19 Vaccination for People who are Pregnant, Lactating, or Planning to Become Pregnant.
Testing for COVID-19
NYS DOH recommends that pregnant persons who are not fully vaccinated or have other risk factors for COVID-19 get a COVID-19 test the week before their estimated due date or scheduled delivery or upon admission to the birthing facility when it was not possible to get a test earlier.
Testing in the week before delivery or upon admission to a birthing facility for all asymptomatic pregnant people is also strongly encouraged irrespective of vaccination or recovery status in regions with a positivity rate of 2% or greater in the region according to the NY Forward seven-day average.
Labor and Delivery
Hospital must have visitation policies that allow and encourage visitors and patient support persons to spend appropriate amounts of time with patients. During labor and delivery, hospitals must ensure, that two support persons, including a doula if requested, may accompany the patient throughout labor, delivery, and the postpartum period, including recovery, until discharge to home. The support persons can be the patient’s spouse, partner, sibling, parent, or other persons of their choice.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for pregnant people?
Our State and federal medical experts agree that all eligible New Yorkers, including pregnant people or those looking to become pregnant, should get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they’re able. Pregnant people have been eligible for vaccination in New York State since February 15, 2021.
According to the CDC, pregnant people are at greater risk of having severe infection from COVID-19. Changes in the immune system that occur during pregnancy can put pregnant people at greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, and may increase the risk for adverse outcomes, such as preterm delivery. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States have proven extremely effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, and are recommended for those who are pregnant.
As of June 14, over 124,000 pregnant people in the U.S. have received the vaccine, and the CDC is closely following over 5,100 volunteers who got vaccinated during pregnancy. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes have been associated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States. Current data has not identified any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or their babies. Based on how these vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant.
The CDC and FDA have safety monitoring systems in place, and this information will continue to be closely monitored and reported out to the public.
Are COVID-19 vaccines recommended for people who are currently breastfeeding?
Recent studies, along with existing research, show that all of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. are effective in pregnant and breastfeeding people. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) strongly recommends that all eligible persons receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series, depending on the product.
Based on how these vaccines work in the body, COVID-19 vaccines are not considered to be a risk to lactating people or their breastfeeding babies, and lactating people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the CDC, recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. The CDC and FDA have safety monitoring systems in place to continue to closely monitor and report out this information, and current data has not identified any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or their babies.
Do COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility issues?
There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility or leads to pregnancy loss. The NYS Department of Health agrees with the CDC that those who are trying to get pregnant now or in the future should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Medical experts continue to carefully study COVID-19 vaccines for side effects and will report additional findings as they become available.
September 22, 2021 - Updating previous Guidance on “Protocol for COVID-19 Testing Applicable for Pregnant People and Support Persons” to reflect updated information on COVID-19 testing.
August 23, 2021 - The CDC, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.
November 17, 2020 - NYSDOH considers the delivery of prenatal and postpartum care essential services. Although providers have had to consider alternative options for the delivery of safe prenatal and postpartum care during the pandemic, patient-centered care must continue to be the focus of the practice.
November 17, 2020 - This guidance addresses the care of newborns born to pregnant persons with suspected (COVID-19 pending test results) or confirmed (positive COVID-19 test) COVID-19.