As an expectant mom, we know you have a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and if it’s safe for you and your baby.
As of August 11, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has strengthened the recommendation for all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or might become pregnant in the future to get the COVID-19 vaccine due as soon as possible to the surge in cases and the Delta variant.
Let’s talk safety
Pregnant women are more likely to become gravely ill due to COVID-19. If you contract COVID-19 during your pregnancy, you are at increased risk of:
- Needing to be hospitalized in the ICU and connected to a machine to help you breathe
- Delivering your baby early
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, although limited, has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
A study of the three different COVID-19 vaccines tested in animals didn’t show any safety concerns related to pregnancy. Additionally, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found women who had the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines developed immunity to COVID-19. On top of that, immunity passed from mother to child through the placenta before birth and breast milk after delivery.
Is timing everything?
Along with the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Take additional care now to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 by following other best practices, including:
- Frequent handwashing
- Social distancing
What about breastfeeding?
We’re sure you’ve read that breastfeeding is the best way you can provide your baby with needed nutrients. We’ve heard from many new moms who are naturally concerned about how the COVID-19 vaccine might affect breast milk, and we’re happy to say early studies show only benefits.
In fact, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made similarly to other vaccinations that are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and their babies. This particular type of vaccine works by teaching our cells how to launch an immune response without reproducing in the body. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is created using a modified virus, but it, too, is made similarly to other vaccines that are safe for pregnant women. This is encouraging information to consider when you are deciding when to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
What if I’m planning a pregnancy?
Some of you have asked us if getting the vaccine can affect fertility. If you’re planning to become pregnant, you’ll be glad to know there’s isn’t any reason to believe the COVID-19 vaccine interferes with fertility or affects pregnancy.
The CDC, which exists to protect us from disease, says there’s no need to have a pregnancy test before getting a COVID-19 vaccine nor avoid pregnancy after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Talk with your obstetrician about the COVID-19 vaccine. If you decide to get vaccinated, you can schedule your appointment through the LCMC Health patient portal or by calling 504.290.5200.