Pregnant women may be at an increased risk for developing more severe cases of COVID-19, and if they contract the illness, they could face complications such as pre-term birth. As the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed, you may be wondering if it’s safe to get the vaccine.
Is The Vaccine Safe For Pregnancy?
The available data shows the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe. These vaccines were not specifically studied for safety in pregnant participants during the initial clinical trials. However, experts are continuing to study the impact of the vaccine and we hope to have more data soon. Please note, pregnancy is not a contraindication to any of the available vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said the vaccine should be offered to pregnant and lactating people. As of April 5, 2021, more than 77,000 V-Safe participants have indicated they were pregnant at the time they received the COVID-19 vaccine. V-Safe is a CDC program, which is designed to track vaccine side effects. According to that data, the side effects reported did not appear to differ from side effects in the general population.
A recent study in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology studied pregnant and lactating women. Antibodies were discovered in umbilical cord blood and breast milk, which indicates the vaccine may offer protection to both the mother and baby.
In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine agree the vaccine should be offered to pregnant patients. For those who are pregnant, the decision to receive the vaccine should be individualized in a conversation with your physician or midwife based on the balance of your risks.
“Every patient has different needs. Anytime you have a question about your care, talk with your doctor or midwife and have a discussion about what makes sense for you,” said Christian Pettker, MD, chief of Obstetrics at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Ob/Gyn Romelle Maloney, MD, of Northeast Medical Group, said when patients are weighing the risks and benefits, it’s important for them to understand that they’re at an increased risk for developing more severe cases of COVID-19, which could include needing ICU care.
“Follow the science. We know that this virus causes severe disease in pregnant women. Three times as much as people who are not pregnant,” Dr. Maloney said.
Is The Vaccine Safe If I Want To Become Pregnant?
If you’re planning to become pregnant, you may want to discuss your options with your obstetrician or midwife, but there is no reason that people who are planning pregnancy should not get the vaccine if eligible.
As with any new scientific breakthrough, the vaccine is the target of misinformation. If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are currently breastfeeding it is important that you speak with your doctor who can provide you with the latest information surrounding the vaccine in order to avoid misinformation.
Safety data reported to the FDA for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines show the same numbers of people got pregnant in the vaccine group as the placebo group. Among the 36 people who got pregnant in both studies to date, there were only four adverse pregnancy outcomes, and those participants were in the placebo group and did not receive the actual vaccine.
“Some women may be worried the vaccine could impact fertility, especially for those women who are trying to get pregnant right now. But the research shows that the vaccine did not negatively impact pregnancy outcomes for those involved in the trial and there is no scientific basis for such rumors,” Dr. Pettker said.
COVID-19 Safety For Pregnant Patients
If you are pregnant and decide to get the vaccine, you should still continue to follow strict infection prevention protocols. According to the CDC, pregnant patients should limit their interactions with people who might have been exposed to COVID-19, always wear a mask in public spaces and avoid activities where it’s difficult to stay six feet apart from others. In addition, pregnant patients should get vaccinated against the flu and stay up to date with all necessary healthcare appointments.
Learn more about COVID-19 prevention for pregnant patients