Fall 2021 Newsletter

As board certified obstetricians we trust and follow the recommendations of The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).  We have summarized the most recent information and recommendations from ACOG regarding the COVID 19 vaccine in pregnancy. Please feel free to ask questions at your next visit with your doctor. 

Experts are learning more every day about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. ACOG is following the situation closely. This page will be updated as ACOG learns new information for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy?

Pregnant women may choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is a limited amount of safety data available on COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy at this time, but what experts know so far is reassuring.

The tests done before the first vaccines were approved for emergency use did not include pregnant women. But based on how the vaccines were made and the science behind how the vaccines work in the body, experts believe they should be safe in pregnancy. Tests with pregnant women are now in progress. And thousands of pregnant women have already chosen to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Some of them have enrolled in the CDC’s vaccination tracking program. Data from this program do not show any safety concerns.

If you are pregnant and want to know more about the vaccines, you can talk with your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional. This conversation is not required to get a vaccine, though it may be helpful. You can discuss your risk of getting COVID-19 and your risk of severe illness if you get sick. A vaccine may protect you from severe illness, which could help both you and your fetus.

Should breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, ACOG recommends that breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stop breastfeeding if you want to get a vaccine. When you get vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body can be passed through breastmilk and help protect your child from the virus.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am trying to get pregnant?

Yes, if you are planning or trying to get pregnant, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility. You also do not need to delay getting pregnant after you get a vaccine.

Some COVID-19 vaccines will require two doses. If you find out you are pregnant after you have the first dose, you should still get the second dose.

What are the differences between the vaccines?

Two vaccines require two shots (Pfizer and Moderna), and one vaccine requires only one shot (Johnson & Johnson). All available COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and highly effective. Pregnant and nonpregnant people can choose to get any of the available vaccines. 

What should I know about the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine?

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has a very rare risk of a serious condition involving blood clots and other symptoms. Most cases of these blood clots have been reported in women under age 50. These blood clots have only been reported in a few people out of every million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that have been given. No cases have been reported in pregnant women.

Scientists reviewed these reports and decided that the benefits of the vaccine are greater than the risks. So you can choose to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but you should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots and related symptoms. Symptoms may include severe headaches, blurred vision, abdominal pain, leg pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, easy bruising, or small blood spots under the skin. 

If you choose not to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can choose another available vaccine. All vaccines have gone through intense safety studies and health officials continue to track their safety.

If I decide to get a COVID-19 vaccine, what should I expect?

It is common to feel side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. There are different types of COVID-19 vaccines that have varying side effects. Side effects also vary from person to person. Some vaccines may make you feel like you have the flu for a few days. This is normal.

If you have a fever or other side effects after getting the vaccine, you can take acetaminophen, an over-the-counter medication that is safe during pregnancy. If you are worried about your side effects or they last more than a few days, talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional.

I have heard rumors about how the vaccines can affect my body. What is the truth?

The vaccines that have been approved so far work in different ways, and all of them are proven to be safe. It is important to know that:

  • The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19. None of the vaccines use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The vaccines do not affect your genes or DNA.
  • There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility. ACOG recommends vaccination for anyone who may consider getting pregnant in the future.

Source: ACOG “Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients” 

Last updated June 16, 2021