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Is it safe to get pregnant in 2021?

Is it safe to get pregnant in 2021?

Kindara | June 15, 2021 | trying to conceive
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As 2020 draws to a close, many are feeling the urge to look back and reflect on all the curveballs that the year brought. When COVID-19 started spreading in the U.S., couples suddenly had to decide whether to postpone their family planning until things were more stable. According to one survey, around 1 in 3 people put off getting pregnant because of concerns about the coronavirus (1). Other couples didn’t even get that choice, as their fertility treatments were postponed due to the pandemic (2).

Things started changing as the public collectively realized that the pandemic would look more like a marathon than a sprint. Putting off a pregnancy for a few months is an entirely different matter than putting it off for a year or more, especially for women and couples who are in their mid-30s or older and have limited childbearing years left (3). 

Now, with the promise of a vaccine by next summer, is it time to start thinking about conceiving again? That’s a question that only you (and also your doctor) can answer, but we’re here to help you get all the facts before making your decision. Read on for the top things you should consider if you’re thinking of getting pregnant in 2021.

Pro #1: It may be easier for you to conceive now than in the future.
Con #1: You may still be feeling worried about the pandemic.

Though vaccine talk has everyone dreaming of an end to the pandemic, it’s still unclear how the effects of this year will continue to shape the future. For example, the childcare industry has been hit hard in 2020, with low enrollment and higher operating costs. Up to 40% of childcare programs may be forced to close if they don’t receive government help, according to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (4). 

However, not everyone has the luxury of waiting to see how things turn out before trying to conceive. Studies have shown that female fertility starts to decline at a faster rate around the time a woman reaches age 35, and by 45, most women are essentially infertile (3). Women in their mid-30s or older will have to weigh the risks associated with getting pregnant while COVID-19 is still a threat against the decrease in fertility that they’ll experience as they get older. 

The good news? If you’re healthy and prepared to handle the physical and emotional challenges that come with being pregnant, you probably don’t need to wait to start (or expand) your family because of the pandemic (5). 

Pro #2: COVID-19 vaccines should become available in 2021.
Con #2: The vaccine won’t immediately end the pandemic.

The first COVID-19 vaccine is predicted to become available to the general public by spring or summer 2021, but it’s still going to be a while until the pandemic is firmly in our collective past (6). If you’re thinking of trying to conceive in 2021, you’ll need to consider how the virus may impact your pregnancy.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) agree that pregnant women are at a higher risk for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19 than women who aren’t pregnant. There have also been reports of women with COVID-19 experiencing preterm (before 37 weeks) birth and other pregnancy complications, though it’s still unclear whether the virus was the cause of these problems (7, 8). 

Additionally, it’s unlikely that any vaccine available in 2021 will have been tested and found to be safe for pregnant women because pregnant women are typically excluded from vaccine trials (9). 

Aside from the potential health risks for you, there’s also a slight chance that the coronavirus may affect your newborn baby. While the data that researchers have is far from conclusive, it seems to be uncommon for newborns to contract the virus. And, in most (but not all) newborns that contracted the virus, symptoms were generally mild (7). 

Pro #3: Remote work may make pregnancy easier for working moms.
Con #3: Personal finances may not be as stable as they were pre-pandemic.

With more and more companies announcing that they plan to continue remote working policies well into 2021, you may be wondering if now might actually be the perfect time to get pregnant. When you’re working from home, you don’t have to deal with a commute or buying a whole wardrobe of professional maternity clothes that you may never wear again. You also wouldn’t have to worry about managing morning sickness around your coworkers. And it’s a lot easier to hide a baby bump on a virtual call than it is in person, giving you more of a choice about when you want to share your pregnancy with your colleagues. 

On the other hand, millions of people now find themselves dealing with less financial security and job stability than they had before the pandemic. Considering that the average cost to deliver a baby in the U.S. is around $10,000, not including doctor visits and other expenses that come with being a parent, many couples may feel anxious about trying to get pregnant while the economy is still struggling to find its footing (10).

Pro #4: Telemedicine is more advanced and available than it’s ever been.
Con #4: The pandemic is still affecting how people receive care.

The coronavirus forced telemedicine into the spotlight this spring, and more patients and doctors are embracing the quality care that can be delivered during a virtual appointment. It’s hard to predict what healthcare will look like in 2021, but there’s definitely a chance that visits to the doctor will still be affected by COVID-19 protocols. If you’re thinking of trying to conceive, you may need to be a little flexible in terms of what your pregnancy care looks like. Your doctor may prefer telemedicine appointments when possible, or they may have rules against other people (including your partner) accompanying you on your in-person visits and in the delivery room (11). 

Pro #5: Social distancing means revealing your pregnancy on your terms.
Con #5: Social distancing also means less in-person support.

With fewer group outings, it’s easier to avoid awkward social situations, such as pretending to drink alcohol before you’re ready to tell people you’re pregnant. Or faking a smile while yet another stranger touches your baby bump without asking. These days we’re all a little more mindful of our interactions with others, which could give you more control over how you experience your pregnancy (and who you experience it with).

However, social distancing norms are a double-edged sword. You may not be able to have the baby shower that you dreamed of or join a mothers’ group after giving birth. High-risk friends and family may not be able to be there for you in the way that you hoped. Ideally, COVID-19 restrictions won’t be as necessary by the time you’d be giving birth, but it’s impossible to predict what the future of the pandemic holds.


When it comes down to it, all the pros and cons listed above should be considered with one all-important question in mind — what does this mean for you? Everyone’s situation is different, and you (and your partner) are the only ones who get to decide whether it’s the right time to start trying to conceive. By educating yourself about the risk factors that come with having a baby in 2021, you can move forward with confidence, whatever you choose.

About the author

Catherine Poslusny is a writer and content marketing strategist based out of Norman, Oklahoma. She's written for healthcare companies since 2016, and she's most passionate about her work in women’s health, fertility, and reproductive rights. You can find her at catherinerosewrites.com.

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