The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety, particularly among pregnant women. Expectant mothers are understandably worried about how the virus may affect them and their unborn babies. With the recent availability of COVID-19 vaccines, many pregnant women are questioning whether it is safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. This is because pregnancy affects the immune system, making pregnant women more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are also more likely to develop complications such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant women. In fact, the CDC and ACOG both recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccines have been extensively tested in clinical trials, including on pregnant women, and have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. Additionally, data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has not shown any safety concerns for pregnant women who have received the vaccine.
Furthermore, the benefits of getting vaccinated during pregnancy extend beyond protecting the mother. Antibodies produced by the mother in response to the vaccine can be passed on to the baby, providing some level of protection against COVID-19 after birth. This is especially important given that infants under six months old are not yet eligible for vaccination.
It is important to note that pregnant women may experience side effects from the vaccine, such as fever, fatigue, and body aches. However, these side effects are similar to those experienced by non-pregnant individuals and are typically mild and short-lived. The risk of experiencing serious side effects from the vaccine is extremely low.
In summary, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant women, and getting vaccinated during pregnancy can help protect both the mother and the baby. Pregnant women should talk to their healthcare providers about the benefits and risks of getting vaccinated and make an informed decision about their own health and the health of their unborn baby.
CDC. (2021, March 22). Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021, March 26). COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy: Conversation Guide for Clinicians. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/-/media/project/acog/acogorg/clinical/files/committee-opinion/articles/2021/03/2021-03-26-covid-19-vaccines-and-pregnancy-conversation-guide-for-clinicians.pdf
Shimabukuro, T. T., Kim, S. Y., Myers, T. R., et al. (2021). Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(24), 2273-2282.
Gray, K. J., Bordt, E. A., Atyeo, C., et al. (2021). Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Response in Pregnant and Lactating Women: A Cohort Study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 225(3), 303.e1-303.e17.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 12). COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Update. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2021-02/28-03-01/03-COVID-Shimabukuro.pdf
By Yeni Yim, CNM