It’s natural for parents to have concerns about a decision that affects not only them but their child. We’ll go over the most common questions that pregnant and nursing mothers may have about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Are they safe?
The most important question that parents may have is whether or not receiving a COVID-19 shot during pregnancy is safe. Vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine, are considered a safe and routine part of prenatal care.
Currently, the two largest OB/GYN organizations in the U.S. both recommend COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy or for those who are planning to become pregnant. These organizations are the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine (SMFM). Likewise, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends that all breastfeeding mothers receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Extensive trials have been conducted to ensure the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, including studies on pregnant animals, which showed no negative outcomes. In addition, continuous monitoring is being done to ensure that no harmful effects are occurring for pregnant women who choose to take the COVID-19 vaccination. Keep in mind that some mild side effects such as fever and chills may occur, as with any immunization that you may receive.
Are they effective?
Studies show that, as with many other illnesses, COVID-19 antibodies pass through breastmilk, transferring immunity to your little one. This makes COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and breastfeeding an effective way to protect your baby against COVID-19 infection. Likewise, immunity acquired during pregnancy is also passed on to your little one.
Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness. Risks to the fetus from infection during pregnancy include preterm labor, possible stillbirth, and an increased risk of receiving care in the NICU after birth. COVID-19 immunization can help prevent serious illness and hospitalization in pregnant and nursing mothers.
Pregnant mothers should take additional steps to remain healthy and prevent illness during pregnancy, such as attending regular prenatal visits, taking prenatal vitamins, and eating healthy foods.
When should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Ideally, women should receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they begin thinking about becoming pregnant. Studies show that immunization against COVID-19 should not cause any fertility problems. If you have concerns about taking the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, you can consider waiting until your second trimester when the risk of miscarriage has lowered.
Likewise, if you have any concerns about getting immunized while breastfeeding, nursing mothers can “pump and dump” for a day or two after their vaccine just to be on the safe side.
What about the booster?
If you are due for a COVID-19 vaccination booster, experts recommend receiving your booster even if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The booster can help provide additional immunity to both you and your baby.
If you have any questions about the safety or effectiveness of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, talk to your healthcare provider or give us a call at give us a call today to speak with one of our friendly pediatricians in Arvada.