In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna. As the vaccine becomes available across the United States many women have questions about receiving the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Because pregnant and breastfeeding women are typically excluded from clinical trials, data are currently lacking. However, there are currently no known risks of receiving the vaccine while pregnant and breastfeeding. 

Understanding that many of our patients have questions about whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them, the team at Patel & Patel, M.D, Inc., have put together some helpful information. 

Board-certified OB/GYNs Kiran Patel, MD, and Leela Patel, MD, want to keep patients as informed as possible. Read on to find out what you should know about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy

Pregnancy and covid-19 risk

Pregnant women are considered an at-risk population. Available data suggest that contracting COVID-19 during pregnancy increases the risk for more severe illness from the virus. Pregnant women who have certain conditions, such as diabetes or obesity, are at an even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

Can I get the COVID-19 if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

When the vaccine is widely available, it will be offered to women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Vaccines that do not contain the live virus are considered safe for pregnant women. With the help of your OB/GYN, you can discuss what is the best option for you. 

When deciding whether to take the COVID-19 vaccine you should consider the level of the pandemic activity in your community and the potential risk of contracting COVID-19 while pregnant. 

When should I get vaccinated if I decide to do so?

At the time of this article, the vaccine is available to essential workers, including those who work in health care. Once the vaccine is available to you discuss it with your OB/GYN to determine when and if you should receive the vaccine. 

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine stimulates an immune reaction to teach the body how to respond to the virus. This can cause some side effects and these are a normal part of the body’s immune reaction. 

Mild side effects, such as headache, chills, fatigue, and muscle pain, are common after COVID-19 vaccination. These side effects are usually mild and resolve in 2-3 days. If you choose to take the vaccine when it’s available to you, your OB/GYN will discuss what to look out for and when to seek medical attention. 

I’m currently breastfeeding, can I get the vaccine?

When the COVID-19 vaccine expands to wider populations, it will be available for women who are breastfeeding. There is no need to avoid the vaccine while breastfeeding, according to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

Currently, health officials are still sorting through the details of COVID-19 vaccination and recommendations may change as more information becomes available. If you have questions or concerns about vaccination while pregnant or breastfeeding we’re here to help. For more information call our team at our South Charleston, West Virginia office to schedule a visit or send your request online today


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