The answer is 'Yes, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant.' But you may want to talk to your doctor before you get the vaccine, but it’s not required. A vaccine can protect you from getting severely sick with COVID-19.
COVID-19 and pregnancy
Studies show that you have a greater risk of getting severely ill if you’re pregnant and get COVID-19. COVID-19 specifically increases your risk of:
- Being hospitalized
- Needing intensive care
- Needing a ventilator
- Giving preterm birth — or having your baby before you complete 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Having pregnancy loss
Other factors like your age and having other chronic conditions like diabetes or kidney disease puts you at a higher risk of severe illness related to COVID-19.
Pregnancy and other viruses
Pregnancy generally increases your risk of severe illnesses from all viruses. When you are pregnant, your immune system changes to protect and support you and your baby.
Because of these changes, your immune system is weaker than it is usually. When you get sick with a viral infection, you’re more likely to get severely ill, and in some cases, some viruses may also infect your baby. This is why some vaccines are recommended during pregnancy.
Vaccines protect you and your baby from sickness, and they give your baby immunity from some viruses after they are born.
Recent studies show that if you get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, you will pass immunity to COVID-19 to your baby. That’ll give your baby protection against the virus.
Are vaccines safe during pregnancy?
You shouldn’t have live vaccines during pregnancy, but inactivated vaccines are safe.
COVID-19 vaccines aren’t live vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines — which teach your body to make a protein that makes your immune system respond if it meets the virus. You can’t get infected with COVID-19 from the mRNA vaccines.
The J&J/Janssen vaccine is made with a viral vector. This vaccine uses a different harmless virus to create a noninfecting piece of the COVID-19 virus in your body. It teaches your immune system how to respond.
You can’t get infected from the vector or the piece of COVID-19 used in the vaccine.
Was the COVID-19 vaccine studied in pregnant women?
Usually, pregnant women aren’t allowed to participate in vaccine trials because of the potential risk to the baby. COVID-19 vaccines weren’t studied during pregnancy but were studied in pregnant animals.
These studies didn’t show any complications or didn’t affect getting pregnant.
There is little data from clinical trials on the vaccines in pregnant people, but there is some data from people who have had the vaccine and then gotten pregnant. Early information suggests there aren’t any risks, and experts believe the vaccine is unlikely to be a risk if you’re pregnant.
Do you have to get the vaccine?
You can decide not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you aren’t sure about whether you should get the vaccine, you should talk to your doctor first.
There are some things to consider while making your decision:
- What’s your risk of getting severely ill?
- What’s the risk to your baby’s health?
- Do you have other health conditions that increase your risk?
- What are the benefits and side effects of the vaccine?
- What does your doctor recommend?
- Have you had a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine before?
- Are you allergic to any of the vaccine ingredients?
COVID-19 vaccine side effects
Some side effects are common after getting a vaccine. These are generally a sign that your immune system is responding. They include:
These side effects can happen from any of the vaccines available. The second dose of the mRNA vaccines seems to cause more side effects.
If you get a fever, you should take acetaminophen to keep it down.
Some people have had allergic reactions to the vaccine, but these instances are rare. If you’re allergic to the ingredients, you should talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine.
Some women aged between 18 and 49 years have had a rare side effect from the J&J/Jansen vaccine that causes a blood clotting disorder. After an investigation, both the FDA and CDC found that it is safe to get the vaccine, and the risks are low if you’re pregnant.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology: “VIRAL INFECTIONS DURING PREGNANCY.”
CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding,” “Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines,” “Understanding Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines,” “Understanding Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines,” “Vaccines During and After Pregnancy.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Coronavirus and COVID-19: Who is at higher risk?”
Massachusetts General Hospital: “COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.”
Mayo Clinic: “COVID-19 vaccines: Get the facts,” “Which vaccines during pregnancy are recommended and which ones should I avoid?”
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