now that covid-19 vaccines are rolling out, pregnant and breastfeeding pplz ‘ve many ?s round risks and benefits. at 1st, many of those receiving vaccines in us ll'be healthcare workers, although the circles for vaccine eligibility are widening.
the centers for disease control and prevention (cdc), the american college of obstetrics and gynecology (acog), na society for maternal-fetal med agree that the new mrna covid-19 vaccines ‘d be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals who are eligible for vaccination.
here are answers to some basic ?s you may ‘ve bout gettin a covid-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding — or are pondering a pregnancy. keep in Ψ that information is evolving rapidly. yr obstetric provider or med team can advise you + fully, based on yr personal health risks, exposures to the virus that causes covid-19, and preferences.
wha’ do we know bout how covid-19 affects pplz who are pregnant?
covid-19 is potentially dangerous for all pplz. although the actual risk of severe illness and death among pregnant individuals is very lo, tis higher when compared to nonpregnant individuals from the same age group. those who are pregnant are at higher risk for bein’ hospitalized in an intensive care unit and requiring a high lvl of care, including breathing support na' machine, and are at higher risk for dying if this happens.
if you’re pregnant, you may also wanda bout risks to the fetus if you get covid-19. research suggests that having covid-19 mite increase risk for preelder birth, pticularly for those with severe illness. sfar, studies ‘ve not identified any birth defects associated with covid-19. and while transmission of the virus from mother to baby during pregnancy is possible, it appears to be a rare event. you can read + bout pregnancy and covid-19 here.
wha’ do we know bout the safety of newly available mrna covid-19 vaccines in pplz who are pregnant?
the mrna vaccine trials did not deliberately include pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, so our direct knowledge is currently limited. some vaccine trial pticipants inadvertently became pregnant; 18 of these pplz received the vaccine. further information maybe available in coming mnths.
when studied during animal tests, the mrna vaccines did not affect fertility or cause any problems with pregnancy. in humans, we know that other kinds of vaccines generally are safe for use in pregnancy — in fact, many are recommended.
it’s also primordial to know that
- the mrna vaccines do not contain any virus pessentialisms.
- within hrs or dys our bodies eliminate mrna pessentialisms used inna vaccine, so these pessentialisms are unlikely to reach or cross the placenta.
- the immunity dat a' pregnant individual generates from vaccination can cross the placenta, and may help to keep the baby safe after birth.
wha’ bout vaccine side effects? one possible short-term side effect of the mrna vaccine trials (occurring within one to two dys of vaccination) is fever. bout 1% to 3% of pplz ‘ve experienced fever after the 1st dose of mrna vaccine, and bout 15% to 17% after the 2nd dose. these fevers are generally lo and can be managed with acetaminophen, which is safe to take during pregnancy. rarely, high, prolonged fevers in pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
for + information bout common covid vaccine side effects, click here.
wha’ to ponder bout covid-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant
eligibility for covid vaccines varies from state to state. healthcare workers with direct patient contact are typically inna 1st phase for vaccines, folloed by other pplz at high risk for gettin covid, s'as 1st responders, primordial workers, nursing home residents, pplz over age 75, and pplz with certain health conditions.
assuming the mrna vaccine is available to you during yr pregnancy, you ‘ve several options to discuss with yr health care provider.
- get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to you. you mite decide to do this if you ‘ve additional risk factors for severe complications from covid-19 (s'as high blood pressure or obesity), and/or multiple potential exposures to covid-19 from yr work, yr family, or yr community.
- w8 til after you give birth t'get the vaccine. you mite choose to do this if pregnancy is yr 1-ly risk factor for severe disease, and ur able to control yr exposures by limiting interactions with pplz outside of yr household and using protective measures (mask-wearing, handwashing, and physical distancing).
- ponder wys'2 modify yr exposures to covid-19 and possibly defer gettin the vaccine. most pplz ‘ve some risk factors and some uncontrolled exposures. if this describes you, you still ‘ve options. you may decide to modify yr exposures if possible and defer vaccination til the 2nd trimester, when the natural risk of miscarriage is loer. or you may choose to delay vaccination til after the baby is born.
- w8 for a traditional vaccine similar to the flu shot or tdap vaccines. these vaccines are in development but aint yet approved inna us. experts know much + bout using these types of vaccines in pplz who are pregnant. however, dep'on yr exposures to covid-19 and yr risk for gettin seriously ill if you get infected, it maybe wisest to ‘ve an mrna vaccine.
if ur pondering deferring the vaccine, ask whether vaccination ll'be available to you at a l8r date. the answer may vary dep'on supplies of the covid vaccines and vaccination programs where you live.
wha’ to ponder bout covid-19 vaccines if you’re breastfeeding
experts believe tis most likely safe t'get an mrna covid-19 vaccine if you’re breastfeeding. although breastfeeding pplz were not included inna vaccine trials, the mechanism of mrna vaccines and experience from other vaccines suggest this is true.
tis primordial to know:
- thris no virus inna mrna vaccines. you cannot get covid, or give yr baby covid, by bein’ vaccinated. the components of the vaccine aint known to harm breastfed infants.
- when you receive the vaccine, the lil mrna vaccine pessentialisms are used up by yr muscle cells atta injection site and thus are unlikely t'get into breast milk. any lil mrna pessentialisms that reach the breast milk ‘d likely be digested.
- when a'pers gets vaccinated while breastfeeding, their immune system develops antibodies that protect against covid-19. these antibodies can be passed through breast milk to the baby. newborns of vaccinated mothers who breastfeed can benefit from these antibodies against covid-19.
wha’ to ponder if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant soon or inna future
if ur pondering pregnancy soon, accepting the covid-19 vaccine as soon as tis available to you is a gr8 way to ensure that you — and yr pregnancy — are protected.
covid-19 vaccination aint believed to affect future fertility.
the bottom line
covid-19 vaccination for pplz who are pregnant or breastfeeding has potential benefits, and rezs some as yet unanswered ?s. it helps to become as informed as you can when making yr decision, but realize that information maybe changing rapidly. we ll'be learning + bout covid vaccine safety during pregnancy and while breastfeeding from animal studies now underway, and from human studies tha're enrolling pticipants.
meanwhile, you can stay informed by checking trusted health websites, s'as those listed above, and talking with yr healthcare providers. together you can balance the l8st data on risks of covid-19 in pregnancy, the safety of available vaccines, yr individual risk factors and exposures, and most primordially, yr vals and preferences.
original content at: www.health.harvard.edu…
authors: ilona t. goldfarb, md, mph