As if there aren’t already enough things to stress over in pregnancy—what to eat, what chemicals to avoid, etc.—adding in a pandemic takes worrying to a whole new level. And with the approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, this brings yet another question to the mix: is it safe to receive this vaccine if you are pregnant?
Despite feeling like there is a lot of uncertainty, the good news is that there is no shortage of guidance from leading organizations who care for pregnant people. The following groups have all come out with statements in support of pregnant people being given the choice to receive the vaccine:
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- The Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine
- The Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention as well as the World Health Organization are also advising that pregnant people have access to this vaccine.
It may seem surprising that so many organizations are willing to offer this vaccine to pregnant people—a group of people who were not included in the trials, and who we tend to be most conservative with when it comes to medications and interventions.
The recommendation is based on a few things. First, we know that pregnant women who become infected with COVID-19 are at much higher risks of developing severe disease. This means they are at increased likelihood of needing to be hospitalized and intubated, and they are at risk of developing pregnancy-specific complications such as preterm labor and delivery.
Secondly, this vaccine is not in a category of vaccines that we usually avoid in pregnancy, including vaccines based on live, weakened viruses. The currently approved vaccines in the United States are both mRNA vaccines, and both contain no viral particles whatsoever.
While pregnant people have not been included in the vaccine trials, some people did become pregnant during the trial. Though the numbers are small, what we have seen so far is no adverse effects to any of these moms or babies. We are continuing to monitor those who are pregnant and choose to get the vaccine to gain additional data.
So, to answer the question of whether or not a pregnant person should choose to get the COVID vaccine, the answer is: it is your choice. No organization is saying all pregnant people should get it, but they are saying that, after discussion with your healthcare provider and weighing the risks and benefits for you, you should decide for yourself.
As always, any medical decision is best made with the guidance of your healthcare provider and evidence-based information—not from a post on Facebook or an article from a highly biased agenda. To learn more or be prepared for discussing this topic with your doctor or midwife, check out the reference section here to go deeper and learn more.
- Current leading organizations state that pregnant people should have the choice to receive the COVID vaccine if they want it.
- Discussing your own situation with your provider can help you weigh risks and benefits.
- Always get your information from reliable, evidence-based sources.