A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccine: 4 questions to consider before vaccination

Pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine

Pregnant women are among a group that is low risk for getting COVID-19, but are high risk for having severe complications from the virus. The COVID-19 vaccine can help protect yourself against the virus and severe illness.

Editor’s note: As of July 30, 2021,  the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for all pregnant and lactating individuals. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are at high risk for having severe respiratory complications from the virus that could include ICU admission, a need for mechanical ventilation, death and preterm birth.

To protect yourself against the virus and severe illness, the COVID-19 vaccine is available for eligible populations in Wisconsin.

“In general, the preliminary data regarding COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be safe,” said Dr. Jason Patzwald, Marshfield Clinic Health System OB/GYN.

Patzwald said current recommendations from CDC, American College of OBGYN, and Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, is that the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for all pregnant and lactating patients.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or pumping, it is recommended that you should be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Research on the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women

There is now real-world data on more than 130,000 women who received the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant.

“This includes published results from more than 5,000 pregnant women who chose to be vaccinated showing there is no evidence for increased risk to mothers or babies,” said Dr. Alison Bauer, maternal and fetal medicine specialist at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “It is research like this that gave me confidence to get the vaccine myself during my third trimester of pregnancy.”

Even still, CDC continues to monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety in pregnant women and vaccine manufacturers are currently conducting clinical trials to assess safety and vaccine immune response in pregnant women. This information is added to the fact that many other vaccines are safely given to pregnant women every day.

Pregnant women that have received the COVID-19 vaccine have demonstrated a similar immune response to natural infection and high antibody titers, which protect them against serious illness from COVID-19.

“In fact, women who have been vaccinated have higher levels of antibodies than women who were infected with COVID-19,” Dr. Bauer said. “Antibodies formed after vaccination have even been found in the umbilical cord blood and in breast milk. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may be sharing their COVID-19 immunity with their child.”

Discuss benefits and risk with your provider

CDC recommends talking with your provider about the COVID-19 vaccine. You can make a more informed decision when you understand your personal health history, benefits of the vaccination and risk for infection in your area.

A few questions to consider are:

  • What is my risk of getting COVID‐19?
  • What is the current level of activity of the virus in my community?
  • What is my risk for severe complications if I get COVID‐19?
  • What are the benefits of getting the COVID‐19 vaccine?

While a conversation with your provider may be helpful, it’s not required before vaccination.

If you have a history of severe allergic reaction to any other vaccines, you should talk to your provider before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

V-safe helps to collect more information

When you get vaccinated, the CDC will continue to monitor the vaccine to make sure it’s safe for all individuals.

To help gather more information about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and lactation, those who receive the vaccine are encouraged to enroll in V-safe, CDC’s smartphone-based tool to check-in on people’s health after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have additional questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit marshfieldclinic.org/covidvaccine.

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