Many of our patients have been asking about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID19 vaccine in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection and COVID-related complications for both you and your baby. Now that the vaccine has been out since December 2020, we have a lot more information about the vaccine for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding people be vaccinated against COVID19. The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has issued a statement with some guidance to women who are currently pregnant, planning pregnancy, or breastfeeding who are considering the COVID19 vaccine. Click here to read the article.
Although pregnant or lactating women were not included in the COVID19 vaccine clinical trials, at this time more than 177,000 pregnant people have been vaccinated and no unexpected pregnancy or fetal problems have occurred. There have been no reports of any increased risk of pregnancy loss, growth problems, or birth defects.
We know that about 1 to 3 in 1,000 pregnant women with COVID19 will develop severe illness. Compared to those who aren’t pregnant, pregnant women infected by COVID19 with symptoms are 3 times more likely to need ICU care, 2 to 3 times more likely to need advanced life support, and have a 70% increased risk of death. According to a September 29, 2021 urgent health advisory from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID19 in pregnant people including more than 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths. To reduce these risk, the COVID19 vaccine is recommended. See the full CDC health advisory here.
With the rising COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire, we unfortunately have seen some of the sad outcomes that can occur with COVID-19 in pregnancy. We get calls daily from unvaccinated pregnant women who recently tested positive for COVID-19, asking us how they can prevent complications from COVID-19. Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything that can be done once someone has COVID-19 other than monitor symptoms and treat a fever. The best way to prevent complications from COVID-19 is vaccination.
We strongly recommend that our pregnant and breastfeeding patients get the COVID19 vaccination. Pregnancy is not an indication for a COVID19 vaccine waiver.
If you have questions about the vaccine, please talk to your provider at your next visit.