Vaccine recommended for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive
As we again see steep increases in the number of community members contracting and being hospitalized with COVID-19, addressing questions regarding the safety of vaccination is as important as ever. Though we have been coping with the coronavirus pandemic for over eighteen months, we continue to learn about the virus itself and the protection the vaccine provides against severe illness for specific groups in particular.
Data shows pregnant women infected with COVID-19 have an increased risk for severe disease and even death, as well as pregnancy complications such as premature birth, stillbirth and preeclampsia. However, only 22% of pregnant women have been vaccinated. This is especially concerning given the increase of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
Vaccination decreases your overall risk of COVID-19 infection. Though vaccinated individuals may still become infected with COVID-19, the risk of severe illness and hospitalization is 88% less compared to non-vaccinated individuals. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the COVID vaccination also provides passive protection to their babies, through the umbilical cord blood and in breastmilk.
Major health organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, recommend all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows no safety concerns among pregnant individuals who received the COVID-19 vaccine. And there is no increased risk of childbearing complications in vaccinated individuals compared to pregnancy complication rates reported prior to COVID-19 pandemic.
Claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility and/ or pregnancy loss are unfounded and have no scientific evidence. Studies continue to show COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy does not increase risk of miscarriage, as the vaccine cannot reach or cross the placenta. Nor does the COVID-19 vaccine impact male or female fertility or fertility treatment outcomes.
It’s an overwhelming time, and many will still have questions regarding pregnancy, breastfeeding, COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination. We want our community to have access to the data available, be able to separate fact from fiction, and feel confident in their decision to choose vaccination. We encourage you to make an appointment to speak to your OB/GYN to discuss your concerns and questions in detail.
Dr. Clare Rudolph is a board-certified OB-GYN providing gynecological, obstetrical and fertility services with Barton Women’s Health. To contact a women’s health specialist with questions about COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine, call Barton Women’s Health at 530-543-5711 or visit BartonHealth.org/WomensHealth.
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