Advice on corona for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Here you will find answers to the most common questions pregnant or breastfeeding women have related to the coronavirus.

Illustrasjonsbilde av en gravid kvinne

Pregnancy and corona

What do we know about pregnancy and the coronavirus?

Taking the coronavirus vaccine is recommended for pregnant women. The vaccine will protect both the mother and the newborn from a serious course of the disease.

The risk of a serious course of the disease for pregnant women after being infected by the coronavirus is low. At the same time, international studies show that pregnant women are at a slightly increased risk of a more serious course of the disease compared to non-pregnant, with the highest level of risk towards the end of the pregnancy. This might be linked to an increased strain on the heart and lungs for pregnant women as the fetus grows, and they are therefore more prone to developing a serious course if they do turn ill.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) offers further advice to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Should I take special precautions?

To prevent infection, you should follow the same advice as the general population.

It is recommended that all pregnant women take the vaccine. You will be well protected from a serious course of the disease following vaccination.

Those who have not taken the vaccine can protect themselves from infection by following the advice given to those who are part of risk groups, read more at NIPHs webpages.

What should I do if I am pregnant and part of a risk group?

If you are pregnant and have an underlying condition such as diabetes (i.e. diabetes with onset prior to pregnancy), cardiovascular disease and / or obesity the risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 is increased. You should follow the advice for risk groups.

You should discuss with your doctor whether there is a need to take additional precautions and if workplace adjustments are necessary. Sick leave is not required unless work adjustments are impossible. If you work as a healthcare professional and are pregnant, you should –based on the precautionary principle - arrange with your employer so that other personnel perform testing and treatment of persons with probable, suspected or detected coronavirus (COVID-19 disease), as far as possible.

Coronavirus vaccination when pregnant

All pregnant women are recommended to take the vaccine, regardless of trimester. This is particularly important if you have an underlying disease.  

Pregnant women are also advised to take the booster dose. It is especially important for women who are pregnant in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, and  more than 20 weeks have passed since the second dose. Taking the booster dose is also recommended during the 1st trimester if the pregnant woman has an additional illness.

Read more about pregnancy and vaccination (NIPH- fhi.no)

Women who are planning to get pregnant can also take the vaccine, as well as women who undergo - or plan to undergo - IVF-treatment.

There is no indication of the coronavirus affecting fertility. There have been some reports of vaccination affecting the menstrual cycle. Read more about the corona vaccine and menstrual disorders (NIPH in Norwegian).

Your partner and other household members can help reduce the risk of infection for you and the unborn child by taking the vaccine.

Can the virus be transmitted from me to the baby prior to or during birth?

We do not know for sure whether the coronavirus can be transmitted from the mother to the baby prior to or during birth. Certain studies indicate that this may have happened. 

It is known that the virus can be transferred to the newborn child from the mother after birth.  Children born to mothers with COVID-19 and who have been infected after birth have shown only mild or no symptoms at all. Unless you or your newborn child is seriously ill, you can be with your child while following the advice for infection control given by the health personnel.

Birth and corona

What happens when I go into labour?

The hospital has a responsibility to reduce the risk for you and your baby, for other women giving birth, for newborns and for personnel who need to be at work. Refer to your hospital's website for further information.

If you are not sick or infected, birth will proceed as normal.

Can I bring a birth companion?

You can bring a partner or close relative that can be present prior to, during and after birth. The staff at the hospital will do everything they can to meet your needs. 

Breastfeeding and corona

You can breastfeed as normal also if you have a coronavirus infection. This is in line with the advice from the World Health Organization (WHO). The coronavirus has not been detected in breast milk of those with a confirmed coronavirus infection. Refer to NIPH for further information on pregnancy and breast feeding.

Those who have taken the vaccine are well protected from a serious course of the disease.

Vaccination and breastfeeding

Breastfeeding women should take the coronavirus-vaccine, just like others. Taking the booster dose is also recommended. 

There is no reason to discontinue breastfeeding after taking the vaccine.

Those who breast feed respond well to the vaccine. The child will receive antibodies from the mother via the breast milk following vaccination. This will protect the child following a potential infection.

Bottle feeding / infant formula

Read more about formula: Guide on bottle feeding is given in English, Arabic, Bengali, Polish, Romanian and Urdu.