Who is this for?
This guide is for pregnant women, new moms, and also for those who are trying to conceive.
Every day thousands of women all over the world embark on a journey of parenthood and this has been no different during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully pregnant women are at no more risk of infection than the general population and healthy people under the age of 50 are at low risk of severe disease, hospitalization, or death from Covid-19.
Healthy pregnant women and new moms, do not need to worry specifically about coronavirus disease, as the illness is easily treated and there is much they can do to support their own health.
Furthermore, our natural immune system can protect us against microorganisms and viruses, including the virus which causes Covid-19. Pregnant moms and new moms can maintain good health and give their babies an excellent start with a healthy diet and lifestyle; this will also help to support the immune system.
The World Council for Health recognizes the importance of your right to choose medical treatments and make lifestyle decisions based on your own personal risk/benefit analysis. As with all guidance on this website, we encourage you to speak to your trusted healthcare provider(s) for treatment advice. Our guidance cannot replace individualized medical advice from your trusted health practitioner(s).
In this guide, we will answer the questions:
- If I get Covid-19 when I am pregnant can I pass it on to my baby?
- What can I do if I get Covid-19 in pregnancy?
- How safe are Covid-19 vaccines in pregnancy?
- Should I have the Covid-19 vaccine if I plan to become pregnant?
- Can the Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility?
- Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe if I am breastfeeding?
- How do I protect my baby from Covid-19
In the UK, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website states:
- Pregnant women have been included in the list of people at moderate risk as a precaution.
- Current evidence suggests that hospital admission may be more common in pregnant women with Covid-19 than in non-pregnant women of the same age, however this is partly because pregnant women are also admitted to hospital for reasons unrelated to Covid-19.
- Roughly two-thirds of pregnant women with Covid-19 have no symptoms at all, and most pregnant women who do have symptoms only have mild cold or flu-like symptoms. However, a small number of pregnant women can become unwell with Covid-19.
- Studies have shown that there are higher rates of admission to intensive care units for pregnant women with Covid-19 compared to non-pregnant women with Covid-19. It is important to note that this may be because clinicians are more likely to take a more cautious approach when deciding whether to admit someone to the intensive care unit when a woman is pregnant.
- Pregnant women of Black, Asian and ethnic minorities are at increased risk. Women over the age of 35, those who had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 or more, and those who had pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, were also at higher risk of developing severe illness and requiring admission to hospital.*
*Note: With regard to the last point, it should be taken into account that pregnant women are normally more likely to be admitted to hospital than non-pregnant women and more so if they are older moms or have pre-existing medical conditions, and this is not caused by Covid-19. In hospitals, there is an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 and additionally, there is a lot of routine coronavirus testing. Testing healthy people generates a high number of false positives and is not diagnostic of active disease.
If I get Covid-19 when I am pregnant can I pass it on to my baby?
There has been no evidence found so far that suggests an unborn child could contract Covid-19 through his/her mother’s bloodstream. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) have no reported cases of pregnant women passing on the virus to babies.
During pregnancy, antibodies from mothers are passed to their unborn babies through the placenta.
Antibodies are special proteins the immune system produces to help protect the body against bacteria and viruses.
What can I do if I get Covid-19 in pregnancy?
If you are otherwise healthy you should refer to our document Early Covid-19 treatment guidelines: A practical approach to home based care for healthy families.
Although our Early Treatment Guide is provided as an educational service for patients and their families, it does not provide individual medical advice or prescribe. You could also consult a pharmacist for further guidance or a physician of your choice, for individual advice or medical care.
Supplements and medicines safest to use in pregnancy
Safe and suggested medicines include:
- Immune support: zinc, vitamin C , vitamin D, multivitamins, melatonin.
- Antiviral mouth wash/nasal spray. Based on the severity of your illness, your doctor may consider prescribing ivermectin – see note below*
- Anti-inflammatory N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and antihistamines such as cetirizine.
- Antihistamines can also help with nasal congestion and a runny nose.
- Anticoagulant aspirin can be used but should be avoided during the last 3 months of pregnancy.
- Symptom support acetaminophen/paracetamol and cough medicines.
Medicines to avoid:
- Ibuprofen should be avoided during pregnancy
- Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid and normally present in healthy diets. Quercetin is safe to take while breast feeding, however there is little research available on its use as a supplement in pregnancy.
For more information, see the new Vitamins and Nutraceuticals During Pregnancy guide published by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance in September 2022.
*Note: Professor Jacque Descotes, an expert toxicologist who reviewed all the scientific evidence on ivermectin in March 2021 has reported that: “No immediate or long-term adverse consequences on infants and children exposed to ivermectin via their pregnant mother have been recorded or suspected.” Also, that “There is only scarce data on breast-feeding women treated with ivermectin. Measured ivermectin levels in milk were found to be very low.”
How safe are Covid-19 vaccines in pregnancy?
The Covid-19 vaccines are not like any other vaccines previously produced. Therefore we must set aside the safety and history of traditional vaccines when considering these novel Covid-19 vaccines.
Traditional vaccines have a long history of development and use and work by inoculating healthy people with the antigen. The antigen is a natural biological part of the germ of an inactivated or weakened germ.
The Covid-19 vaccines are not traditional vaccines and work in different ways.
They have been rapidly developed as a form of biotechnology, and are mostly only authorized for temporary emergency use, which means that they are unlicensed and may be withdrawn at any time.
Normally vaccine development takes around 10 years and the long-term effects and potential risks cannot be known when a product is developed and marketed in less than 1 year.
The Covid-19 vaccines have been linked to a high level of adverse reactions. There is a growing list of side effects such as blood clots, changes in menstrual periods, and even miscarriage. There is evidence from a Pfizer research document that was released under a freedom of information request (FOIA) that Covid-19 vaccines do not remain at the injection site in the arm muscle but instead spread throughout the body including to the brain and ovaries. The effects of this bio-distribution have not been investigated. It is also not known how much of the vaccine contents or their products, such as spike proteins, cross the placenta and whether they may be harmful to a developing baby.
It is an important principle to first do no harm, and this is especially crucial when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Should I have the Covid-19 vaccine if I plan to become pregnant?
You are responsible for your own body and health. This is called Bodily Autonomy and by law, you must be given certain information in order to make a decision. You must also be allowed to freely make a decision without coercion, duress, or influence and be given time to make that decision.
It’s your body and your choice and it’s important to consider this decision carefully. This process is called informed consent.
The decision to take any medicinal product must be yours and you should think very carefully before accepting Covid-19 inoculation as it can not be taken out again or reversed.
What are the long term effects for pregnant women and their babies who get the vaccine?
The long-term effects and side effects of the Covid-19 shots are unknown as these drug therapies have been rapidly developed and data on adverse effects is still be collected, analyzed, and investigated.
It is possible that there could be effects on fertility and even genetic effects, as preclinical studies were insufficient in addressing these concerns.
Covid-19 shots do not prevent infection or transmission and natural immunity is effective. Recent research from Israel where the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine was exclusively used, demonstrated that natural immunity is 7 x more effective at preventing cases and infections with the delta variant, than vaccine-induced immunity.
Healthy adults under age 50, are at low risk of severe illness, hospitalization, or death from Covid-19. The US Centre for Disease Control concluded in a report that obesity was the strongest risk factor for severe Covid-19 disease and the report also stated that 95% of hospitalized adults with Covid-19 had at least 1 underlying medical condition.
Healthy adults are at no more risk from death from Coronavirus Disease than from the seasonal flu.
Can the Covid-19 vaccines effect fertility?
The effects of the Covid-19 vaccines on fertility are unknown.
During the development of the Covid19 vaccines, laboratory testing was carried out, but the experiments failed to include important investigations and report full data for reproductive toxicity. Additionally, Genotoxicity (DNA mutation) studies were not carried out.
As of September 29, 2021, the UK government approval information for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, states that reproductive toxicity studies are ongoing and will be provided when available.
Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe if I am breastfeeding?
It is unknown as to whether the Covid-19 vaccines are excreted in breast milk.
Additionally, the Covid-19 vaccines, contain novel ingredients; it is unknown as to whether these ingredients pass into breast milk and the effects on babies have not been investigated.
A study by Pfizer released under a freedom of information request, demonstrated that ingredients of the Covid-19 vaccines did not remain in the arm, but spread throughout the body (a bio-distribution study). Therefore it is possible that breast milk could be contaminated by the vaccines.
How do I protect my baby from Covid-19?
The good news is that babies and children are usually only affected mildly by Covid-19, and moms do not need to stay away from their babies if they have Covid.
A healthy diet and lifestyle are vital for staying healthy in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Baby will also benefit nutritionally, by mothers eating a healthy diet and this will support the babies own immune system and general health.
During pregnancy and while breastfeeding antibodies are passed from mother to baby, and this helps to protect the baby against infections, including Covid-19. Babies will also benefit nutritionally by mothers eating a healthy diet.
Taking regular nutritional supplements can also benefit pregnant and nursing mothers and hence their babies. It is especially important to get good levels of vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D is exposing our bodies to natural sunlight, but this is often not possible in the northern hemisphere and seasonally, hence supplementing vitamin D is important.
Social contact, cuddles, relaxing, and bonding are also important for the general health of moms and babies, and can even benefit the immune system. New moms should avoid extra stress and take time to relax and catch up on sleep.
Mask wearing is best avoided and is likely to be psychologically detrimental for babies and children especially. Mask wearing can also interfere with the bonding between mother and baby. Regular masks and face coverings do not prevent the spread of viral infections and are unlikely to reduce the risk of transmission.
The most important things you can do are to be prepared, take care of your immune system, and if you or someone else in your family contracts Covid-19, treat early at home using a combination of therapies that attack Covid from a variety of different angles. See our Early Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines.