Covid-19 Vaccines During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
With questions and controversy swirling about the new Covid-19 vaccines, there are also many questions about pregnant and breastfeeding women. We wanted to answer questions about women who are pregnant, wanting to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. It is important to note that information about Covid-19 and the vaccine is constantly evolving. This is the most accurate information as of the date of publishing this article. Please always check the CDC or ask your physician for the most up-to-date information.
Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?
According to the CDC, there is limited data regarding the Covid-19 vaccine and pregnancy. This does not mean it is not safe, it just means there have not been any trials specifically studying Covid-19 vaccines and pregnancy. There are, however, many trials within individual practices happening all over the country. It is best to speak to your physician to see if the vaccine is safe for you. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine agree that the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals who are eligible for vaccination.” - Harvard
“Until findings are available from clinical trials and additional studies, only limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, administered during pregnancy:
Limited data are currently available from animal developmental and reproductive toxicity studies. No safety concerns were demonstrated in rats that received Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy; studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are ongoing.
Studies in people who are pregnant are planned.
Both vaccine manufacturers are monitoring people in the clinical trials who became pregnant.
CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have safety monitoring systems in place to capture information about vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor reports.
mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and, therefore, cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Cells break down the mRNA quickly. Based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. However, the actual risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and her fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women.” – CDC Website
Should I get the vaccine if I am wanting to become pregnant?
According to the CDC, women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
It is important to also note; getting a Covid-19 infection may cause greater risks than the vaccine for people trying to get pregnant. Speaking with your physician about risks and benefits is highly recommended.
Should I get the vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
As with pregnancy and the vaccine, there is also no data on breastfeeding while getting the vaccine. This does not mean it is unsafe; it means there is no current major clinical trial for it. However, according to the CDC, mRNA vaccines are not though to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.
“Experts believe it is most likely safe to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if you’re breastfeeding. Although breastfeeding people were not included in the vaccine trials, the mechanism of mRNA vaccines and experience from other vaccines suggest this is true.” -Harvard
Some of our favorite resources for honest, up-to-date information about the Covid-19 vaccines and trials are below:
Jessica Malaty Rivera- Instagram @jessicamalatyrivera
In conclusion, getting the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding could have many potential benefits, yet it has not been fully studied in major clinical trials. It is important to let your doctor know about your concerns so you can be properly informed.
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Jeri Ford, RN, BSN, CPN