Coronavirus and Pregnancy – What you need to know

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses of which there have been many different types in Canada. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new type of coronavirus that started in Wuhan China. COVID-19 is currently a pandemic. The virus is spread from person to person through close contact (i.e. within six feet) via droplets. Droplets usually spread due to the coughing or sneezing of an infected person, the virus is not airborne. There is currently no vaccine or cure, treatment involves supportive care of symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms range from mild to severe and commonly include:

  • Fever (37.8 C or greater)
  • Cough (new or worsening)
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • New olfactory or taste disorder(s) (such as loss of taste or smell)
  • Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

Uncommon/atypical symptoms:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Falls
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Croup
  • Unexplained tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Unexplained hypoxia (low blood oxygen saturation)
  • Lethargy, difficulty feeding in infants

Some people may have mild, cold-like symptoms while others may develop severe illness. Complications can be serious and include conditions such as pneumonia, kidney failure or in some cases death. 


COVID-19 is still developing and information is being updated as it is learned. It’s believed to be unlikely for the virus to pass from pregnant person to fetus. So far the babies of infected mothers have not been born with the virus nor has it been found in  amniotic fluid, cord blood or breastmilk. More good news is that COVID-19 does not appear to be more serve in pregnant people and their symptoms are similar to those reported by non pregnant adults. Even if you are sick it is recommended that you continue breastfeeding as breast milk provides protection against illness (except in rare cases).


The main recommendation in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 is physical (social) distancing. Coronavirus is spread by people, therefore the best way to avoid contracting it is to avoid close contact with people (that do not live in your household). Take everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of germs.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Contact your local public health unit if you think you have the coronavirus
  • Wear a cloth mask in public places (your mask helps decrease the spread of the virus to others)

Your primary care provider has access to daily updates through the Ministry of Health, you can contact them with questions. Public health is also a good resource for up to date information. Pregnant people should protect themselves through prevention by avoiding contact with sick people and practicing proper hand hygiene. Social distancing is the main strategy being used to slow the spread of this virus so it is important for everyone needs to do their part.

Updated April 26, 2020.


MINISTRY OF HEALTH. COVID-19 Reference document for symptoms [online]. Ontario, Canada. April 26, 2020. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_reference_doc_symptoms.pdf

NATIONAL PERINATAL ASSOCIATION. Social media posts that promote the evidence. [online]. Missouri, USA. March 7, 2020. http://www.nationalperinatal.org/COVID-19

ONTARIO. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) [online]. Ontario, Canada. February 8, 2020. February 8, 2020. https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

THE SOCIETY OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNAECOLOGISTS OF CANADA. SOGC Infectious Disease Committee Statement on the Novel Coronavirus [online]. Canada. February 9, 2020. https://www.sogc.org/en/content/featured-news/sogc-statement-coronavirus.aspx

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