Concern and confusion swirls around vaccines. This is especially true for women who are pregnant. Fear of harming an unborn child can become a barrier to taking a vaccine, even when it is available. Two professional organizations offer reassurance that vaccines are safe during pregnancy:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) are aware of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to withhold COVID-19 vaccines from pregnant individuals unless they are at high risk of exposure.
ACOG and SMFM continue to stress that both COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who choose to receive the vaccine. ACOG’s and SMFM’s current guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant patients remains in place.
There is further clarification about this position on the ACOG website.
Pregnancy presents a unique challenge to the woman’s body particularly when confronted with an infection. There is evidence that pregnancy itself increases the risk for more serious infection from COVID. A serious illness for the mother will impact the growing baby.
In addition, the twenty-member Maternal Immunization Task Force offered further support to the importance of vaccination against the SARs-CoV 2 virus for pregnant women.
Currently, available data demonstrate that pregnant individuals are at increased risk of more severe illness and death due to COVID-19 than their non-pregnant counterparts. Providing pregnant individuals with the opportunity to be vaccinated can be critical to allowing them to protect themselves, particularly if their occupation puts them at increased risk of contracting the virus or if they have underlying and comorbid conditions. This statement by the Maternal Immunization Task Force statement can be downloaded in pdf.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information on increased risk or severe illness from COVID should a woman become ill while pregnant.
Pregnancy is a time when many women focus on healthy eating and other self-care measures. This becomes doubly important for pregnant women during a pandemic. Although we are all tired of the reminders about wearing masks, social distancing and good hand washing these steps are necessary. Until the country has consistently decreasing infections and the majority of people are vaccinated the virus, and its new variants, will continue to bring harm to our communities.