If you are pregnant or have just given birth, you may be worried about the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Based on the current knowledge, pregnant women do not seem to have a higher risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus; this means that they do not appear to be more susceptible to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 than women who are not pregnant. As always, it remains important to follow the current measures.

Based on the data currently available, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 poses an increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects attributable to an infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. More information about pregnancy and COVID-19 is provided below. So far, there have not been any cases involving transmission of the virus from mother to child in the Netherlands. 

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy

If you are pregnant, your risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is not higher or lower than if you are not pregnant. Based on current knowledge, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 could cause a miscarriage or birth defects.

Pregnancy and work

If you are pregnant, you can in principle continue working. Do make sure to comply with the measures. If you are an employee, for example in healthcare, your employer may have implemented a specific policy for pregnant employees. Ask your employer if that is the case, and feel free to request advice from the company doctor. This is particularly relevant if you are pregnant and also in one of the COVID-19 risk groups

No increased risk of miscarriage

Based on the current knowledge, there is no increased risk of miscarriage, pregnancy loss, or birth defects attributable to an infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The effects of COVID-19 in a healthy pregnant woman do not appear to be any different (for the child and the mother) than for other respiratory infections that are caused by viruses and can lead to fever and pneumonia. For example, high fever can induce contractions. Are you pregnant and running a high fever? Then contact your doctor or midwife immediately. If you are in doubt or have questions, call your doctor or midwife for advice.

Precautionary measures for pregnancy

The coronavirus measures also apply during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you do not have to take extra precautions. The most important measures to prevent the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from spreading are:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • If you have symptoms, stay home and get tested
  • Stay 1.5 metres from others
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and in any case when you arrive at home
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Use paper tissues and discard them after use
  • Work from home if possible
  • Wear a non-medical face mask in indoor public spaces

Symptoms during pregnancy?

Are you pregnant and not feeling well? Keep a close eye on how you feel. COVID-19 can cause various symptoms. Some people may not have any symptoms at all, while others may become seriously ill. This also applies during pregnancy. 

Do you have mild symptoms, such as the following?

  • Cold symptoms (such as a nasal cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat)
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Elevated temperature or fever
  • Sudden loss of smell and/or taste (without nasal congestion)

Stay home and get tested. This helps prevent you from infecting others. Keep 1.5 metres (two arm-lengths) from other people at all times. Other than the test, do not leave the house at all until you have received a negative test result (no COVID-19).

Can I give birth in the hospital?

Yes, you can give birth in the hospital. Discuss this with your midwife.

I have a coronavirus infection (COVID-19). Can I give birth at home?

We advise you to discuss with your midwife whether you can give birth at home.

Taking care of your newborn baby if you have COVID-19 

Contact with your baby strengthens the bond between parent and child. If one of the parents or carers has COVID-19, it is important to take extra precautions while caring for the baby. These extra precautions will minimise the risk of passing the virus on to your baby. Children often do not get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is still important to ensure your child does not become infected.

Extra precautions during bottle feeding, breastfeeding and care 

There are no indications that a baby can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has many advantages. It is fine to breastfeed your baby, even if you have COVID-19. Mothers who have had COVID-19 during their pregnancy provide a lot of antibodies in their breast milk. This has become apparent from recent research, and is positive for the baby.

During breastfeeding, bottle feeding, care, and direct contact such as cuddling, it is important to take the following extra precautions:

  • Maintain good hygiene, such as washing your hands thoroughly beforehand every time you feed and/or care for the baby. 
  • Wear a medical face mask that covers your nose and mouth if you are close to your baby (less than 1.5 metres). The medical face mask can be used a maximum of three times (or for three hours in a row). 

These recommendations also apply to other members of the same household if they have COVID-19. These precautions continue to apply until no one in the household is contagious anymore. Consult with the GGD about how long you will be contagious.

Parents/carers who are not infected do not have to wear a face mask. However, they are advised to apply the hygiene measures thoroughly every time they have direct contact with the baby. Do you have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19?   Then get tested. The midwife, maternity nurse or your GP can give you more information about taking care of your newborn baby if you have COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnancy and COVID-19

I work in a hospital or other care institution (in an intramural care context). Can I continue to work throughout my entire pregnancy?

Up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, you can continue to perform your normal work activities, including caring for people with COVID-19. Obviously, you must follow the applicable protocols and measures for personal protection (for example by using a face mask that covers your mouth and nose). From 28 weeks on, it is not recommended to continue providing care related to COVID-19. However, you can continue to do replacement work; if necessary, you can consult the company doctor about this. 

I work in healthcare, but not in a hospital or other care institution (extramural care; for example, I am a GP or district nurse). Can I continue to work throughout my entire pregnancy?

Up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, you can continue to perform your normal work activities, including caring for people with COVID-19. Obviously, you must follow the applicable protocols and measures for personal protection (for example by using a face mask that covers your mouth and nose). From 28 weeks on, you are no longer permitted to continue providing care related to COVID-19. In addition, you must be able to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others during your work. If this is not possible, you should be offered suitable alternative work; if necessary, you can consult the company doctor about this.

I am pregnant and work at a childcare facility, school or after-school childcare centre. Can I continue to work throughout my entire pregnancy?

In principle, you can continue working up to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Of course, the national measures and hygiene advice still apply in this context. If you cannot keep 1.5 metres away from others (colleagues, parents/carers and children*) during your work, then it is advisable from 28 weeks of pregnancy to do replacement work that will allow you to maintain distance. If necessary, you can consult the company doctor about this. 

*This does not apply if you work with children up to the age of 4. In that case, you may continue to work after 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, you should keep 1.5 metres away from colleagues and parents/carers. 

I work in some other profession. Can I continue to work throughout my entire pregnancy?

In principle, you can continue working up to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Of course, the national measures and hygiene advice still apply in this context. If you cannot keep 1.5 metres away from others (colleagues or customers) during your work, then it is advisable from 28 weeks of pregnancy to do replacement work that will allow you to maintain distance. If necessary, you can consult the company doctor about this.