Between news stories and multiple opinions about COVID-19 variants and vaccines, many pregnant and breastfeeding moms have concerns and questions about how to keep themselves and their babies safe and healthy.
COVID -19 Risks During Pregnancy
According to the physicians at the Mayo Clinic, the overall risk to pregnant women is low, however, women who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are at increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19. Severe illness means that you might need to be hospitalized, have intensive care or be placed on a ventilator to help with breathing. Pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to deliver a baby before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy (premature birth) and might be at increased risk for problems such as pregnancy loss.
In addition, pregnant women who are Black or Hispanic appear to be disproportionately affected by infection with the COVID-19 virus. Pregnant women who have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, also might be at even higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.
Some research suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to have a premature birth and cesarean delivery, and their babies are more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, contact your health care provider. It’s recommended that you get tested for the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy Recommendation
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) updated their guidance to doctors January 26,2022, and recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant and lactating moms, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are preferred over the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. ACOG recommends that pregnant and recently pregnant women up to 6 weeks postpartum receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine following the completion of their initial COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series.
Johns Hopkins Medicine views all authorized COVID-19 vaccines as highly effective at preventing serious disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
The Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend pregnant and lactating women consult with their doctors about getting the vaccine. 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.
Preventing COVID-19 During Pregnancy
In general, pregnant women can be more susceptible to infections, so it’s important to take precautions so you don’t expose yourself to COVID or other illnesses. Actions include hand washing, social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding situations where you can be exposed to people who are sick.
- Centers for Disease Control
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
- John Hopkins Medicine
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Keyword tags: COVID-19 During Pregnancy, Coronavirus, COVID vaccinations