Amongst all of the worries we are facing, adding a new bundle to the equation is even more worrisome. Now with the COVID-19 vaccine underway, there are new questions and uncertainties on the rise, but luckily your OB/Gyn is up to speed! That being said, we aren’t quite out of the woods just yet, and if you’re pregnant, you may have an overload of questions – so ask away!
One of the big questions is, are pregnant moms at more of a risk getting COVID-19, and how does it affect you and your bundle?
According to Stephen Feagins, MD, chief clinical officer at Mercy Health Cincinnati, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has found that pregnancy may put women at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection, including preterm birth.
“Pregnant women should continue to mask, practice social distancing, wash hands regularly and avoid gatherings to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19,” Feagins continues.
Although expecting mamas are at increased risk for a more severe side effects of the novel virus, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they have actually been at a somewhat decreased risk of dying compared to older people or people with high-risk medical conditions, says Greg Siewny, MD at Atrium Medical Center, Hilltop Obstetrics & Gynecology. This could be due to the younger age of the average expectant mother, but more is currently being studied, he says.
Should Pregnant Moms Get the Vaccine?
First off, the best thing you can do is ask your doctor if the vaccine is safe for you. Second, know that is completely your personal choice whether or not you want the vaccine before, during or post pregnancy. And third, according to Feagins and Siewny, the current and available scientific research shows that, yes, the vaccine is in fact safe for pregnant mamas.
“While the numbers of women becoming pregnant during the vaccine trials is low, early data from studies on the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines have not identified any major safety issues in pregnant women receiving the vaccines,” says Feagins.
Since the risk of actually catching COVID-19 is high and the risks of getting the vaccine are significantly low, it is actually recommended that if you are pregnant, that you get the vaccine, recommended by The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“Aside from the expected side effects, there are very few safety issues in the people receiving the vaccine,” assures Feagins. “Women who have received the vaccine and wish to get pregnant should discuss their concerns with their doctor.”
Side effects can include a low-grade fever and some influenza-like symptoms lasting only a day or two, according to Siewny, but everyone is different and the same goes for expecting moms. In fact, experiencing some of these mild symptoms can actually be a good sign.
“If you get these mild symptoms, it is an indirect good sign that the vaccine is probably working towards immunity in your body,” he continues.
Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, are currently pregnant or have already welcomed your little bundle into the world, it all goes hand-in-hand that the vaccine is safe for you and your baby. This goes for breastfeeding mamas, too.
“Simply put, the vaccine is very safe in both pregnant and non-pregnant patients. No two patients are alike, though,” says Siewny.
That being said, the best thing you can do right now if you’re unsure is to talk with your doctor, and make the best decision for you and your family.
“As always, you want to make an intelligent, carefully thought out decision for what is best for you and your baby – just as you do every day in caring for your family!” Siewny continues.
For an exclusive one-on-one Q&A about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccination as well as what to expect at the hospital and more, click here!