If You’re Pregnant and Haven’t Gotten a COVID Vaccine Yet, You Really Should

If You’re Pregnant and Haven’t Gotten a COVID Vaccine Yet, You Really Should
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All three of the COVID vaccines available in the U.S. (Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J) are considered safe to use in pregnancy, and the data strongly supports getting vaccinated if you’re pregnant, have recently been pregnant, or intend to get pregnant soon. But only 31% of pregnant people have been vaccinated, so the CDC recently issued an “urgent health advisory” to make sure everyone knows the risks and benefits.

When the vaccines were first approved, it was on the basis of trials that excluded people who were pregnant. Experts didn’t have any reason why people shouldn’t use the vaccine during pregnancy, so the official recommendation in December 2020 was that if you were pregnant, it was up to you and your doctor to decide whether you should get the vaccine. Meanwhile, baseless myths about the vaccines affecting fertility exploded on social media.

There’s been a lot more safety data available since then, and it’s very clear. People who have gotten the vaccine and then gotten pregnant (or vice versa) didn’t have any increased risk of miscarriage, fertility problems, or complications in pregnancy. (We explain the results of several of the key studies here.)

COVID holds extra risks for people who are pregnant, and for their babies, making the vaccines especially important. If you’ve been thinking “well, I’m young and healthy,” pregnancy changes that equation when it comes to COVID. According to the CDC, there have so far been 125,000 people who tested positive for the virus while pregnant, and 22,000 of those ended up hospitalized. That’s one hospitalisation for every six pregnant people with COVID. So far 161 have died, but the death rate is picking up; 22 of those deaths occurred in August 2021.

Not to mention: If you have a severe case of COVID, the prognosis for your baby is not good.

Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic, pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 per cent increased risk of death. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes that could include preterm birth, stillbirth, and admission into the ICU of a newborn also infected with COVID-19.

If you have questions about the safety or the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated, talk to the provider you’re seeing for prenatal care or call the CDC’s COVID info hotline.

 

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