I’m pregnant, I’m trying to get pregnant or I’m breastfeeding. Should I get the COVID vaccine?

For most people, getting the COVID vaccine as soon as possible is the safest choice. However, trials testing the vaccine in pregnant and breastfeeding women have not been completed.

The information below will help you make an informed choice about whether or not to get the COVID vaccine while you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant.

Your options:
Get the COVID vaccine as soon as it is available
or
Wait for more information about the vaccine in pregnancy

 

What else should I think about to help me decide?

  1. Make sure you understand as much as you can about COVID and about the vaccine. Ask a trusted source, like your midwife or doctor.
  2. Think about your own personal risk.

Look at the columns below and think about your risk of getting COVID (left column). Think about your safety - are you able to stay safe (right column)?

The risk of getting sick from COVID are higher if...

  •  You have contact with people outside your household who do not wear masks
  •  You are 35 years or older
  •  You are overweight
  •  You have other medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
  •  You are a smoker
  •  You are a racial or ethnic minority, or your community has a high rate of COVID infections
  •  You are a healthcare worker

If you are at a higher risk of getting COVID, it probably makes sense to get the vaccine.

If you are not at higher risk for COVID and...

  •  ...you are always able to wear a mask
  •  ...you and the people you live with can socially distance from others for your whole pregnancy
  •  ...your community does NOT have high or increasing COVID cases
  •  ...you think the vaccine itself will make you very nervous (you are more worried about the unknown risks than about getting COVID)
  •  ...you have had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine

 

...it might make sense for you to wait for more information.

Summary

  1. COVID seems to cause more harm in pregnant women than in women of the same age who are not pregnant.
  2. The risks associated with getting the COVID vaccine during pregnancy are thought to be minor but are not totally known.
  3. You should consider your own personal risk of getting COVID. If your personal risk is high, or there are many cases of COVID in your community, it probably makes sense for you to get the vaccine while pregnant.
  4. Whether to get the vaccine or not is your choice.

Do you have more questions? Call your doctor or midwife to talk about your own personal decision.

References

  1. DeBolt CA, et al. Pregnant women with severe or critical COVID-19 have increased composite morbidity compared to non-pregnant matched controls. Am J Obstet 2020 Nov doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.11.022
  2. Adhikari EH, et al. Pregnancy outcomes among women with and without severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. JAMA Network Open 2020 Nov 3(11):e2029256
  3. DiMascio D, WAPM working group on COVID-19. Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes of Pregnancy Women with SARS-coV-2 infection. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Sept. doi: 10.1002/uog.23107.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: Characteristics of Symptomatic Women of Reproductive Age with Laboratory-Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Pregnancy Status– United States, January 22–October 3, 2020. November 2020:1-7.
  5. Abbasi J. COVID-19 and mRNA Vaccines– First Large Test for a New Approach. JAMA. 2020;324(12):1125 – 1127. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.16866
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/recs/grade/covid-19-pfizer-biontech-etr.html (Accessed December 14, 2020)
  7. SMFM statement on COVID vaccination in pregnancy: https://www.smfm.org/publications/339-society-formaternal-fetal-medicine-smfm-statement-sars-cov-2-vaccination-in-pregnancy
  8. https://www.acog.org/en/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/12/vaccinating-Pregnant-and-Lactating-Patients-Against-COVID-19 (Accessed December 14, 2020)
  9. Mutambudzi M, Niedwiedz C, Macdonald EB, et al. Occupation and risk of severe COVID-19: prospective cohort study of 120 075 UK Biobank participants. Occupational and Environmental Medicine Published Online First: 09 December 2020. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2020-106731
  10. https://www.asrm.org/news-and-publications/covid-19/