Should You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine if You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
BY KIRSTIN REED
There’s a lot of excitement about COVID-19 vaccines in our community, and for good reason. These vaccines have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective.
Important questions have been asked regarding the vaccine for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant. The COVID-19 vaccine development and regulatory approval is rapidly changing, so it’s important to note that information and recommendations about these vaccines and their use in specific populations will continue to evolve.
We want to share the most current information to help you feel safe making your decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you. Elizabeth Flodin, DO, gynecologist and Chief of Gynecology with LVHN – who also happens to be pregnant – made the decision to receive the vaccine after consulting the most up-to-date information.
Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness
Based on growing evidence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now includes pregnancy as a factor that leads to increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
“Everything in health care is risk versus benefit,” Flodin says. “To me, the risk of getting COVID as a pregnant woman far outweighs any risk of the vaccine itself.”
Current data suggests that women who are pregnant and have COVID-19 are at increased risk for more severe illness than women who are not pregnant. If a pregnant woman with COVID-19 infection also has diabetes or is obese, she may be at even higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
Guidance from medical societies
Women who are pregnant, want to become pregnant, or who are lactating and breastfeeding, also can take into consideration the recommendations of leading medical societies. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) all recommend that these patients be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
No evidence that the vaccine causes infertility
These societies also recommend the vaccine be offered to patients undergoing fertility treatment based on Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.
“Women who had COVID-19 develop substances in their body that can cause an immune response to the virus,” Flodin says. “They develop the exact same substances when they get the vaccine. So, if the vaccine caused infertility, we would be seeing it in women who already had the virus,” Flodin says. “It’s just not true that the vaccine causes infertility.”
Speak with your health care provider
Your decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should be informed by the most recent evidence and a conversation with your health care provider. You should discuss potential benefits and unknown risks of declining or receiving the vaccine while pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.
MyLVHN is your path to COVID-19 vaccination
The quickest and easiest way to schedule your vaccination is through MyLVHN.
Everyone with a MyLVHN account is preregistered for a COVID-19 vaccine. You'll receive a notification when you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and can schedule your vaccine appointment. If you do not have MyLVHN, sign up today at MyLVHN.org or download the free app at Google Play or through the Apple App Store.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines including FAQs and myth-buster videos, visit LVHN.org/vaccines.