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Q&A: Pregnancy, Fertility and the COVID Vaccine

Q&A: Pregnancy, Fertility and the COVID Vaccine

If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or even thinking about pregnancy down the road, you may be deciding whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Like the many decisions you’ll make during and after becoming a mom, you might be going back and forth on this one, and that’s to be expected. Everyone is coming from a different place and has their own concerns, questions and convictions. Here are some of the most common questions we’re hearing about pregnancy, and the COVID vaccine.

Is it safe to get the vaccine?

Yes. Pregnant women can get the vaccine, and doing so can protect them from severe illness from COVID-19. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology strongly recommends everyone receive the COVID vaccine, including those who plan to become pregnant in the future.

Is there a certain time during pregnancy that’s better to get vaccinated?

No, any trimester is fine.Clinical trials are continually studying vaccinated people during all trimesters. For example, the U.S. National Institutes of Health is working on a study to evaluate the immune response generated by COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant and postpartum women.

Were pregnant women included in initial vaccine trials?

No, but 23 people became pregnant after receiving the vaccine during the Pfizer/BioNTech clinical trials.And in February, Pfizer/BioNTech launched a new clinical trial specifically for pregnant women.

If I get vaccinated, can I pass antibodies to my baby?

As more pregnant women have gotten vaccinated, researchers have more insight into is how vaccination can pass antibodies to the fetus. Recent reports have shown that people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines during pregnancy (mostly during their third trimester) have passed antibodies to their fetuses, which could help protect them after birth.

Are there risks if I don’t get the vaccine?

We know that pregnant women and those who have recently been pregnant are more likely to get severely ill with COVID, whether that’s being admitted to the ICU or having to be put on a ventilator. We also know that pregnant women with COVID are at an increased risk for preterm birth.

Should I expect different side effects after the vaccine?

Sides effect reported from pregnant people have been similar to those of non-pregnant people after vaccination with mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech). If you do get a fever afterwards, be sure to take Tylenol to keep it under control. You could even take it before your vaccine appointment.

What if I am trying to get pregnant?

According to The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and have no scientific evidence supporting them.

What if I am breastfeeding?

Clinical trials have yet to include people who are breastfeeding, but based on how vaccines work in the body, they appear to be safe. A recent JAMA study found robust secretion of two types of antibodies in breast milk after vaccination. The antibodies showed strong neutralizing effects, which suggests potential protection against infection for the infant.

Candace Moore, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Obstetrics & Gynecology