COVID-19 raises many questions for those who are currently pregnant, trying to get pregnant or planning on getting pregnant in the future. Research shows that it is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at any point during pregnancy, and getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent serious complications from getting COVID-19 for both mom and baby.
“We have a lot of information about the harms of getting sick with COVID-19 during pregnancy and how safe and effective the vaccines are, “says Kimberly Moreland, MD, an OB/GYN with Dignity Health Medical Group — Dominican. “Don't miss this amazing opportunity to protect yourself and your baby by staying up-to-date with your vaccines and boosters.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alongside leading professional and medical organizations, continue to study vaccine efficacy in people who are pregnant. Since the COVID-19 vaccination is an important consideration during a pregnancy journey, we’ve provided the following information to help people make an educated decision on vaccination.
Importance of the COVID-19 Vaccine for Those Who Are Pregnant or Planning to Become Pregnant
According to the CDC, people who are pregnant, or were recently pregnant, are more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms and have a higher rate of morbidity should they contract COVID-19. Contracting COVID-19 during pregnancy can also contribute to increased risk of complications that can affect the pregnancy and the developing baby, including the risk of delivering preterm or stillborn.
Getting the vaccine not only protects mothers, it helps them naturally produce antibodies that pass from mother to baby while pregnant. For those who are breastfeeding, antibodies can also be passed through breast milk, providing continued protection for newborns.
“I recommend vaccines for my pregnant patients because I care about them and their unborn babies,” says Dr. Moreland. “I want them to stay healthy and avoid the scary complications that can happen if they get sick with COVID 19.”
It Is Safe to Receive the Vaccine at Any Point During Pregnancy
Recent and ongoing research continues to provide evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe before, during and after pregnancy. It’s important to note that COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus and cannot make anyone sick with COVID-19 — including people who are pregnant and their babies. This is why CDC recommends all people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or who might become pregnant in the future, get vaccinated and receive a booster shot when eligible.
Additional Research in Support of Vaccination During Pregnancy
Those who are expecting or planning on becoming pregnant, or who are breastfeeding can feel comfortable receiving a COVID-19 vaccine given the following:
- Research shows getting the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNtech (mRNA) vaccine just before or in early stages or pregnancy does not increase risk for miscarriage.
- Studies have also shown mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not associated with preterm birth or infants being small for their gestational age at delivery.
- People who choose the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine should know that it has not been associated with adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including those affecting the baby, when given to people in all trimesters of pregnancy.
People who are trying to get pregnant or are planning to be in the future should have comfort knowing there is no evidence showing the COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility issues in women or men.
General Pregnancy Reminders
Along with making sure all recommended vaccines are current, the following are other important pregnancy reminders:
- Schedule Routine Checkups: Make an appointment with your general practitioner or an obstetrician to review medical history, answer questions and order necessary tests.
- Take Vitamins: Those who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant should start taking a prenatal vitamin. These contain important nutrients that promote healthy development of the baby. A doctor can help determine the right vitamin for individuals.
- Eat Well: Maintain a well-balanced diet. This means limiting intake of processed foods, and drinking plenty of water.
- Learn About Health Insurance: Health insurance plans may have prenatal and postnatal benefits that pertain to those who are expecting.
The health of people who are pregnant and their babies is of the highest priority for our Dignity Health Medical Group physicians and care teams. For unvaccinated people who are pregnant, contracting COVID-19 is dangerous and can cause severe illness and in some cases, even death. The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest, most effective way to protect from becoming infected and severely ill from COVID-19. By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and the booster shot when eligible, pregnant people are getting the best defense against COVID-19 for themself, their baby and those around them.
“If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and you have questions about the vaccine, please don't hesitate to reach out to any of the obstetricians at Dignity Health,” says Dr. Moreland. “We have a lot of experience with the vaccine and we want you to be safe and to answer your questions.”
If you are pregnant and in need of a general practitioner or an obstetrician, consult our “Find a Doctor” tool to find one in your area. Every pregnancy is different. If you are pregnant, consult a physician for tailored prenatal care, testing, and labor and delivery services.