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Advice for Pregnant, Nursing Women Considering a COVID Vaccine

Pregnant and nursing women should answer five key questions with their healthcare professional when deciding whether to get a Covid-19 vaccine, according to a revised patient handout from the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, developed by NPWH in partnership with fellow experts in pregnancy and lactation.

COVID Vaccine Advice if You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding suggests these questions for pregnant patients to discuss with their healthcare provider:

  • What are the known risks of getting the Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy?
  • What are the benefits of getting the Covid-19 vaccine?
  • What are the known risks of getting Covid-19 during pregnancy?
  • What is my risk of getting Covid-19?
  • What is my risk for severe complications if I get Covid-19?

The handout provides background to assist in answering each question. It notes, for example, that pregnant women infected with Covid-19 are three times more likely to need ICU care and two to three times more likely to need advanced life support and a breathing tube.

Covid-19 Vaccines Not Tested in Pregnant Women

The vaccines were not tested in pregnant women, although some participants in the clinical trials did get pregnant.

“There have been no reports of any problems with these pregnancies, and they are continuing to be monitored,” the handout says. “As pregnant individuals get vaccinated, the FDA will gather detailed information about their safety and effectiveness during pregnancy.”

There is only a very small chance that the vaccines cross the placenta and so it’s unlikely they reach the fetus, although this is not known for certain, it points out.

There is also no evidence that the vaccines affect future fertility.

“The only people who should NOT get vaccinated are those who have had a severe allergic reaction to vaccines in the past or any vaccine ingredients,” the advisory says.

For women who are breastfeeding, experience with other vaccines suggests the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks, the advisory notes, and there is no need to delay or stop breastfeeding after getting vaccinated.

See the full handout at: COVID Vaccine Advice if You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding