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


Pregnancy and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Frequently Asked Questions about pregnancy and COVID-19

updated January 25, 2023

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?

  • Get vaccinated. Stay up to date on booster shots
  • 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
  • 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

How can I get tested for COVID-19?

  • Learn more about the latest on testing.


How could COVID-19 affect my pregnancy?

  • 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:

  • Get vaccinated, and stay up to date on booster shots.
  • 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?

  • After your first clinic appointment (around 8-10 weeks), you will have a regular schedule of in-clinic prenatal appointments at 16, 20, 24, 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 you choose to work from home or stop work once you reach 36 weeks to reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus before you are due to deliver, we will provide a letter for you to give to your employer.
  • You may choose to get tested for COVID at 38 weeks, and then keep COVID precautions – avoid crowds, keep distance, mask up in indoor public spaces -- until delivery to reduce the risk of active COVID infection during labor and delivery. For highest protection, you may choose to quarantine at home.
  • You will be COVID tested in the Birth Center when you present in labor. If you are a scheduled c-section or scheduled induction of labor, a COVID test is collected when you arrive at 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.

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 self-screen 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?

  • If you have the option and choose to work from home after 36 weeks, we will provide you a note for your employer.
  • If you are working in health care, we can provide a note recommending you avoid working directly with COVID-19 positive patients.


Vaccination and pregnancy, fertility, breastfeeding: Answers from the OB/GYNs of the Women’s Health Center  

I’m pregnant. Should I get vaccinated?

Yes. If you are pregnant now, you can and should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnancy increases the risk of severe illness, complications of pregnancy, and even death from COVID-19. Vaccination reduces that risk dramatically.  Over 139,562 pregnant people across the U.S. have been vaccinated (as of July 26, per CDC). All evidence shows COVID vaccination is safe during pregnancy.

I want to get pregnant soon. Should I get vaccinated now?

Yes. We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccination protects you and your loved ones. You do not need to delay getting pregnant after you get a vaccine. Vaccination will not affect your ability to get pregnant.

I heard that vaccines can affect my fertility. Is that true?

No. COVID-19 vaccines DO NOT affect fertility. It’s distressing that many young women (and men) have latched onto misinformation that vaccines could affect their ability to have children in the future. That is a scary thought. But it simply is not true. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. That gives us confidence that new vaccines using this proven technology are safe for you today and into your future.

I’m breastfeeding. Can I get vaccinated?

Yes. If you are breastfeeding, we recommend that you get vaccinated. You can keep breastfeeding your child. When you get vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body may be passed through breastmilk, and help protect your child from the virus.

Can’t I just wait and see how other women do with their vaccination?

There is no benefit in waiting. Two things are clear: COVID-19 remains a serious risk to those who are not vaccinated. And COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. More than 100 million people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated, with no harm to pregnancies, fertility, or breastfeeding. As scientists continue to study the benefits and effects of COVID-19 vaccines, the data continue to reassure us.


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.
  • 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, soaker tub, birth chair, squat bar, epidural, and unmedicated childbirth support. If your COVID-19 test is negative, you may use nitrous oxide.
  • You and your support team may be up walking in the hall as long as your COVID-19 test is negative, support team screens negative, everyone wears a well fitting mask and stays socially distanced from hospital employees.
  • You may help your self to items in the nutrition center (ice, water, coffee, microwave).

What are the visitor restrictions?

  • Find the current visitor restrictions: "What are the visitor restrictions?" 
  • Visitor restrictions are subject to change.
  • Visitors under age 12 are NOT ALLOWED in the Birth Center. This includes siblings. This is to protect your baby and all our patients from highly contagious viruses, including RSV. Video chats are always welcome, and encouraged.

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 limited data available, 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, and live video chats with Birth Center staff every second Monday of the month from 6 - 6:30 p.m. We’ll show you a labor room and equipment, explain what to expect, and answer your questions about our Birth Center. Join the conversation any time during the half hour. It's free, but you do need to register for a video link. Email
  • Please fill out your Birth Plan online, or in your education folder. You can submit it online, or turn in the paper form at a prenatal appointment or 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