The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has given its emergency use approval of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in individuals 16+ years and 18+ years respectively, and distribution is underway. The FDA states both vaccines are very effective with few side effects. Now the question is, are COVID-19 vaccines safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms?
COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy Recommendation
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend pregnant and lactating women consult with their doctors about getting the vaccine. While there are no studies specifically on pregnant women, the Pfizer and M oderna vaccines do not contain the live virus. Rather, it induces antibodies to protect the mother, and at the present time there is no reason to expect adverse effects on the pregnancy or the fetus.
The CDC recommends when considering whether or not to be vaccinated, pregnant women and their healthcare providers should consider the level of COVID-19 community transmission, the patient’s personal risk of contracting COVID-19, the risks of COVID-19 to the patient and potential risks to her fetus, the efficacy of the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine, and the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released a statement January 27, 2021 asserting that “pregnant individuals should be given the opportunity to make their own decision as to whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and that barriers should not be put in place to prevent access and hinder the ability of pregnant people to protect themselves from a virus that could potentially be life-threatening.”
Side effects can occur with COVID-19 vaccine use in pregnant women, similar to those expected among non-pregnant people. Pregnant women who experience fever following vaccination may be counseled to take acetaminophen as fever has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Acetaminophen may be offered as an option for pregnant women experiencing other post-vaccination symptoms as well.
Preventing COVID-19 During Pregnancy
In general, pregnant women can be more susceptible to infections, but there has not been any hard evidence suggesting that Coronavirus is more easily transmitted during pregnancy or exactly how COVID-19 affects pregnancy. Best advice now is to protect yourself and the rest of your family from COVID-19 and other illnesses via prevention. That means social distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hygiene.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a lower respiratory tract infection, which means that most of the symptoms are felt in the chest and lungs. That’s different from colds that bring on an upper respiratory tract infection, where you get a runny nose and sinus congestion. Click to learn more about COVID-19 Symptoms
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