COVID-19 advice for pregnant women and new parents
If you are pregnant, planning a family or are a new parent, there are some tips to make it easier to navigate these new life moments with COVID-19.
Additional 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose (booster)
1 September 2023 – The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended some people at higher risk of severe illness get an additional 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose (booster) if eligible. Read what the latest advice from ATAGI means for you.
Simple steps to protect yourself
Speak to your doctor before you get sick
Understand what test to do when you feel unwell
Check if you're eligible for appropriate treatments if you test positive
Stay up to date with your recommended vaccinations
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 if you are pregnant, planning a family or are a new parent:
- stay up to date with your recommended vaccinations
- get together outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces
- consider wearing a face mask in crowded, indoor places
- continue to attend any medical appointments you may have
- talk to your doctor or midwife now so you understand your options if you test positive to COVID-19, including what test you should get if you get sick and if you need a pathology form for the test.
Antiviral medicines are generally not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and test positive to COVID-19, however there may be other treatments available. For more information, speak to your doctor or midwife.
COVID-19 vaccinations for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy
COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy. Pregnant women who have already received a primary course should discuss with their doctor or vaccination provider whether a booster dose is required during their pregnancy.
Information on COVID-19 vaccination can be found in the COVID-19 vaccination - Shared decision making guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy.
For more information read the latest guidance from ATAGI or talk to your doctor, midwife or vaccination provider.
A free Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) 131 450 is also available.
You can SMS “Hey EVA” to 0481 611 382 if you need support to get a vaccine.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). NCIRS is the leading research organisation in Australia on vaccine preventable diseases and immunisation.
Getting tested for COVID-19
Pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (more likely to get very sick and may be at risk of needing hospital care) than women who are not pregnant.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough or fever), contact your doctor for testing advice.
If you can't contact your doctor, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the online service finder to find a GP near you.
If your doctor recommends a COVID-19 PCR test, they will give you a pathology referral form for a free COVID-19 PCR test.
The referral form will have a private pathology provider location on it which you will need to visit so you can get tested.
For more information, visit What COVID-19 test should I do?
For more information if you test positive to COVID-19, visit Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home.
If you test positive to COVID-19
Most pregnant women will be able to safely stay at home while they have COVID-19. During this time it is important to do the following:
- You can take paracetamol if you feel unwell, to help with symptoms. Ibuprofen is not recommended while you are pregnant
- Stay hydrated
- Mobilise regularly to reduce your risk of developing blood clots. If you have a history of blood clots or are obese, please contact your GP or maternity care provider to discuss your care options
- Keep a close eye on your baby’s movements. Call your maternity care provider immediately if your baby’s movements change, if you are in labour or experience:
o vaginal bleeding
o abdominal pain
o constant clear watery vaginal discharge
o contractions any time before 37 weeks
o persistent fever
o sudden swelling of your face and hands
o have any serious concerns about your pregnancy
- Call Triple Zero (000) if you have difficulty breathing, develop chest pressure or pain, have severe headaches or dizziness. Tell ambulance staff that you have COVID-19 and are pregnant.
- Continue your regular antenatal care after recovering from COVID-19.
If you have tested positive to COVID-19 in the week before a planned caesarean or induction of labour, or you have recently tested positive and are in labour, call your midwife or doctor.
For more information, see the testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home fact sheet.
If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19
If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you are at increased risk of getting COVID-19. There are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk to others:
- Monitor for symptoms. If you get symptoms, contact your doctor for testing advice and stay home.
- Unless it is for medical care, avoid visiting hospitals or other healthcare settings for at least 7 days. If you have to visit do a rapid antigen test and wear a mask. If your due date, planned caesarean or induction of labour is during this time, call your midwife or doctor.
- Avoid visiting other high-risk settings such as aged or disability care facilities, or visiting anyone at higher risk of severe illness for at least 7 days.
- Consider wearing a mask when indoors and on public transport.
- Regular rapid antigen testing (RAT) may help identify the infection early – this is particularly important if you are in contact with people at high risk of severe illness.
See the advice for people exposed to COVID-19 fact sheet for more information.
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and COVID-19
If you are pregnant, you might be worried about how to protect yourself and your baby from COVID-19.
Learn what you can do to limit your exposure and reduce the risk for you and your family with healthdirect’s pregnancy and COVID-19 advice.
You can keep breastfeeding if you have COVID-19. Breastfeeding is safe and the best way to feed your baby. For more information about breastfeeding with COVID-19, visit breastfeeding with COVID-19 or flu.
Information for parents and carers
Most children who test positive to COVID-19 can be safely cared for at home by their usual household carers, even if they are not vaccinated. See the testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 at home fact sheet for more information.
Find information on COVID-19, vaccinations and protective hygiene, plus tips to help you and your family in the Raising Children’s COVID-19 family guide.