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COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy: Should I Get It?

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COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy: Should I Get It?

As COVID-19 continues to sweep our nation and globe, people are taking precautions to protect themselves and help prevent further spread. Masking up, maintaining social distance, washing hands often and avoiding crowds are among the steps being taken … but the question that weighs heaviest for expectant moms is: should I get vaccinated?

The short answer is, yes. Even if you are pregnant, recently pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant in the near future, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends you receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the benefits of vaccination?

According to the CDC, by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine you are reducing your risk from infection as well as building antibodies against the virus that will help protect you and your unborn baby.

What are the risks if I choose not to receive the vaccine?

Those who are currently pregnant, and unvaccinated, are at risk for:

  • Severe illness from COVID-19 that may require hospitalization, intensive care, breathing assistance via a ventilator or other special equipment or illness that may lead to death.
  • Pregnancy complications, including an increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a live virus; therefore, they cannot make you or your unborn baby sick. However, as with any vaccination, side effects can occur and are a normal sign that your body is building protection.

Common and temporary side effects may include:

  • Pain, redness and/or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever (if you experience a fever, the CDC recommends taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®), especially during pregnancy)
  • Nausea

If I’m fully vaccinated, is it safe for me to get the booster shot?

Yes. In fact, both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommend that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding get a booster shot. The ASRM says that “patients who are fully vaccinated and either pregnant, or recently pregnant, should receive a booster shot at the recommended time after receiving their second dose of vaccine (i.e. after six months for the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, or after two months of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).”

If I’m pregnant, will I have more severe side effects than the regular population?

There is no indication that pregnant people are more likely than others to experience side effects from the booster. Much as with the COVID-19 vaccines, the side effects vary from person to person. People who get the booster may experience the same minor side effects they had when receiving the first two vaccines, such as fatigue, soreness in the vaccinated arm, slight fever or headache.

“COVID-19 vaccinations, and thus booster shots among pregnant people, remain low, leaving many unprotected,” said Emily LaSota, MD, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist on the Medical Staff at Southwest General. “While we encourage you to do pregnancy your way, we also align with the CDC recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations and the ACOG and ASRM recommendations for boosters, and urge you to get vaccinated to protect your health and the health of your unborn baby.”

As always, your health care professional is a great resource for care before, during and after your pregnancy, including discussing the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about our services for expectant mothers, or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call 440-816-5050.