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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and the COVID-19 Vaccine: What Are the Latest Recommendations?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women.

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pregnant woman with her arm exposed for a vaccine shot

As cases of the COVID-19 delta variant continue to surge in the United States, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is still the best option for protecting yourself and those you love from getting sick.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  joined other national medical organizations in recommending that all pregnant women, women who are hoping to become pregnant and women who are breastfeeding get vaccinated.

Other medical societies agree with the CDC recommendations

The recommendations made by the CDC are the same as those released by other medical societies, including The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

However, while the COVID-19 vaccines are scientifically proven to be safe and effective, women in these situations may have particular concerns about the safety of the vaccine for themselves and their families. 

To answer any questions you may have, we’ve gathered the latest information to help you make an informed decision about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness

Current data suggest that pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at increased risk for more severe illness (including hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, intubation and death) than women who are not pregnant. They are also more at risk for pregnancy complications (including preterm birth). If a pregnant woman with COVID-19 infection also has diabetes or is obese, she may be at even higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19.

New data show no increased risk for miscarriage

According to the CDC, an analysis of current data did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who had received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, before 20 weeks of pregnancy. In addition, data from three safety monitoring systems found no safety concerns for pregnant women who were vaccinated later in their pregnancy (or for fetuses).

“These findings are reassuring for pregnant women or those who are hoping to become pregnant in the near future,” says Amanda Flicker, MD, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). “These women can feel safer choosing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine knowing that it does not increase the risk of harm for themselves or their babies.”

Speak with your health care provider 

Your decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is important, and if you have concerns about your specific eligibility for the vaccine, you should talk with your health care provider. They will be able to discuss your particular situation and help you make an informed decision.

“I encourage patients to reach out to their care team if they have any questions or concerns about the risks of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy or about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” Flicker says. “We will have an open and honest conversation and present you with all the facts about the benefits of being vaccinated, not just for you, but for your baby and possibly other children as well.”

Vaccination through LVHN

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at LVHN strongly endorses vaccination of all pregnant and breastfeeding individuals.

If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine through LVHN, you can either make an appointment online, schedule an appointment on your MyLVHN patient portal, call our vaccine hotline (833-584-6283) or walk into one of our COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics.

For more information about how to get vaccinated, or for more information about the COVID-19 vaccines in general, visit LVHN.org/vaccines.

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