As the area’s leader in women’s health, Woman’s physicians are encouraging pregnant women to take additional precautions against COVID-19, and asking all women who are considering pregnancy to understand the facts about the vaccine and make an informed decision.
Q: Will the vaccine affect my chance of getting pregnant in the future? At this time, there is no evidence that these vaccines affect future fertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) COVID-19 Task Force addresses a piece of misinformation by stating that the mRNA vaccines “are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies.” They encourage patients undergoing fertility treatment to receive vaccination based on current eligibility criteria.
ASRM joins with the American College of OB/GYNs, the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, the Society for Gynecological Oncology and the AAGL in emphasizing access to the vaccine for pregnant and lactating women and the importance of decisions about the vaccine being made by patients and their physicians. Learn more.
Additionally, getting vaccinated before you get pregnant may prevent COVID-19 during pregnancy and avoid the need for vaccination during pregnancy. Learn more at CDC.
COVID-19 Vaccine & Fertility - Dr. Neil Chappell
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Q: I am pregnant. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Vaccinations, especially with vaccines that do not contain live virus, are considered a safe and routine part of prenatal care. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) state that the COVID vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on priority groups. It’s also recommended that you speak with your OB provider about whether or not you should get vaccinated.
According to the CDC, pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Additionally, pregnant people who contract COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
There is very little data on the safety of this vaccine in pregnancy, as pregnant people were not included in the trials of the vaccines. However, 18 individuals who received the vaccine in the vaccine trials did become pregnant after vaccination. So far, those pregnancies are ongoing and we hope to learn more about those individuals soon. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have safety monitoring systems in place to capture information about vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor reports. Learn more at CDC.
Q: I heard that some people had reactions after vaccination. Are these dangerous in pregnancy? The most common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, joint pains, fatigue and headache (particularly after the second dose) and resolve within a day or two and are not typically dangerous. Talk to your OB provider before getting the vaccine. Learn more at CDC.
Q: If I have received another vaccine during pregnancy do I have to wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine? The flu shot and the Tdap vaccines are routinely recommended during pregnancy. If you choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy or the postpartum period, the CDC recommends that you schedule it at least 14 days before or 14 days after any other vaccination. Talk with your OB provider about the best timing for the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more at CDC.
COVID-19 Vaccine & Pregnancy - Dr. Terrie Thomas
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Q: I am breastfeeding. Should I get the vaccine? At this time, there is no data regarding the health impact on breastfed infants of mothers who were vaccinated. However, any vaccine that makes it into the breast milk is likely to be quickly inactivated when the milk is digested. In addition, some of your COVID-19 immunity can pass to the baby through the breast milk after you receive the vaccine. Learn more at CDC.
Breastfeeding and the COVID-19 vaccine
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Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19? No!
None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test? No!
Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19? Yes!
Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19? Yes!
COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.
Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA? No!
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)