Pregnancy and COVID-19 (Coronavirus) | Northfield Hospital & Clinics

Pregnancy and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Frequently Asked Questions about pregnancy and COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions on Pregnancy and COVID-19

About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

  • It is a highly contagious virus
  • The most common symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, and cough
  • Some people can have little to no symptoms
  • Severe cases can result in pneumonia, respiratory failure, and death

How is COVID-19 spread?

  • By person-to-person contact
  • The virus can be spread by people who do not have symptoms

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

  • Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose
  • Keep distance from people who don't live in your household, at least 6 feet apart
  • Avoid large groups
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has symptoms such as coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth

Symptoms and What to Do

I’m feeling sick. What should I do?

  • Symptoms of COVID-19
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • First, do not panic. Most people recover from this illness
  • Please call 507-646-1478 before coming in
  • If your symptoms are mild, we will recommend staying at home, resting, and using medicine such as Tylenol to help with fever and muscle aches
  • You can use Robitussin or Mucinex or their equivalent to help with cough
  • Cough drops are safe to use
  • We recommend coming to the clinic or Emergency Department if you develop shortness of breath, persistent pain and pressure in your chest, confusion or unable to wake up easily, blue lips or face
  • Patients with undiagnosed fever cough, shortness of breath should ALL self-quarantine. Please follow the CDC guidelines on how to discontinue home isolation
  • Anyone with symptoms should isolate themselves from household members and intimate contacts
  • Household members and intimate contacts should limit their own activities in public for 14 days, and monitor for symptoms

Can I get tested for COVID-19?

  • Learn more about the latest on testing.


How could COVID-19 affect my pregnancy?

  • Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnancy puts people at greater risk of severe illness than non-pregnant people.  
  • Some underlying medical conditions and other factors (such as age or occupation) can further increase a pregnant person’s risk for getting seriously ill.
  • Getting COVID-19 might also put you at higher risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks). (Source: CDC)

      It’s especially important for pregnant people, and those who live or visit with them, to protect against COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask, keep distance from others, avoid crowds, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, wash your hands often, stay away from others who are sick.
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine when you can. Pregnancy is an underlying health condition that qualifies for vaccination in Minnesota. (See MDH’s “Who’s Getting Vaccinated Now?”)
  • Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about COVID-19 vaccination. (Source: CDC)

Is my prenatal care different?

  • We have condensed all care into fewer appointments, so moms get all the care they need with fewer visits to the clinic.
  • After your first clinic appointment (around 8-10 weeks), you will have a regular schedule of in-clinic prenatal appointments at 16, 20, 28, 32 and 36 weeks . . . then weekly until the baby is born. This includes an anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks, and sugar test at 28 weeks.
  • If your pregnancy has a high-risk factor, we may need to see you more frequently.
  • Of course, we’ll see an expectant mom at any point if she or her provider has concerns. All our clinics have COVID precautions in place: entrance screening, masks for everyone, distance, PPE for staff, rigorous cleaning
  • If possible, once you reach 36 weeks, we recommend working from home or stopping work until delivery to reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus just before you are due to deliver.
  • We recommend being tested for COVID at 38 weeks, and then quarantining at home until delivery to reduce the risk of active COVID infection during labor and delivery that could put your baby at risk.

What if I have COVID when I go into labor?

  • We can deliver your baby if you go into labor while you have COVID or another contagious condition.
  • We have protocols in place to decrease the risk of your baby getting sick.
  • We do NOT take your baby away from you if you are COVID-positive. We use extra precautions so you can care for your baby safely.

Who can come to my prenatal visits?

  • You may bring one person with you to your clinic appointments. This person must have no COVID symptoms or recent exposure to a COVID-positive person. This person will be screened on entry, and must wear a mask at all times in the building.

Can I get a doctor’s note to be home to protect my pregnancy?

  • We currently provide notes for patients over 36 weeks.
  • Additionally, if you are working in health care, we can provide a note recommending you avoid working directly with COVID-19 positive patients.

Should I get vaccinated while I’m pregnant?

  • Yes. More than 30,000 pregnant people have received COVID vaccination, and there have been no reports of adverse outcomes. 
  • Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA (messenger RNA) to prompt your body to build immunity. Based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant.
  • Getting COVID poses a bigger risk: Pregnant people who get COVID are at higher risk of severe illness or death, and COVID can affect your baby’s health. (Source: CDC)
  • Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that uses a modified version of a different virus (“the vector”) to prompt your body to build immunity. Vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all  trimesters of pregnancy, with no adverse pregnancy-related outcomes for pregnant people or infants during trials. (Source: CDC)
  • Our providers recommend that all patients consider vaccination. We recommend you consider your personal potential risk of COVID exposure, even if you have had COVID already.
  • Talk with your provider if you have concerns. 

What about vaccine side effects?

  • Side effects may occur, and can be stronger after a second dose. Pregnant people have not reported different side effects from non-pregnant people after vaccination with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. (Source: CDC)
  • If you get a fever following vaccination, you should take acetaminophen because fever has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. (Source: CDC)

Can COVID vaccine affect my fertility?

  • There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems. (Source: CDC)
  • If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you. (Source: CDC)
  • If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will report findings as they become available. (Source: CDC)
  • CDC does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination. (Source: CDC)

CDC has more information on COVID-19 Illness and Pregnancy, and also on COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations during Pregnancy.


Labor and Delivery

How is my experience on labor and delivery different?

  • Please call the Birth Center at 507-646-1205 before coming to the hospital. You and your support person will be screened via telephone for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arrival. Your support person must be symptom-free.
  • You may be evaluated in our Emergency Department prior to arriving to the Birth Center.
  • We will care for you even if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. We’ll take additional precautions as part of your care
  • You can choose many options for your labor, including midwife care, birthing ball, whirlpool tub, birth chair, squat bar, epidural, and natural childbirth support. The use of nitrous oxide is not available at this time.
  • Your room door will be closed at all times, and we cannot have you or your partner walking around the hallways.
  • If you need something from our nutrition center, our nursing team will help.

What are the visitor restrictions?

  • Birth Center patients may have one adult visitor as their designated support person. This person must be symptom-free, must be the same person for your entire stay, and is encouraged to stay overnight
  • The Birth Center also permits one doula (or labor support person) for the labor, and for two hours after delivery. If the Birth Center patient has or may have COVID, the doula/labor support person will not be allowed. The doula/support person must be symptom-free. 
  • If the parent of the child being born is under 18, that parent may attend the delivery; must be symptom-free. This is the designated support person for the full stay in the Birth Center.

What if I have COVID when I go into labor?

  • We can deliver your baby if you go into labor while you have COVID or another contagious condition.
  • We have protocols in place to decrease the risk of your baby getting sick.
  • We do NOT take your baby away from you if you are COVID-positive. We use extra precautions so you can care for your baby safely.

Can my newborn get COVID-19?

  • It is unclear if newborns can become infected with COVID-19. We protect newborns from exposure, just as we do with other viruses (such as influenza). If you’re sick, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and wear a mask while caring for your baby.
  • After your baby is born, one of our pediatric providers will see your child every day and talk to you about their care.

Can I breastfeed if I have COVID-19?

  • While there is very limited data available, current research has not found the virus in any samples of breastmilk studied. If you have respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, trouble breathing), we recommend frequent handwashing, washing your breast prior to feeding, and wearing a mask while nursing.

Can I come in to review my Birth Plan and Tour the Birth Center before I deliver?

  • At this time, we are not offering tours of our Birth Center. We have a virtual tour you can view. Please fill out your Birth Plan in your education folder. You can turn it in at a prenatal appointment or bring it with you when you come in to deliver. Your nurse will review and discuss it with you at that time. If you have specific questions, please ask your OB Provider at one of your prenatal appointments.

What is the best way to communicate my concerns?

The best way to reach your provider is by email through MyHealth Info. Log in or sign up for MyHealth Info. Learn more about MyHealth Info