Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness
Based on growing evidence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now includes pregnancy as a factor that leads to increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
“Everything in health care is risk versus benefit,” Flodin says. “To me, the risk of getting COVID as a pregnant woman far outweighs any risk of the vaccine itself.”
Current data suggests that women who are pregnant and have COVID-19 are at increased risk for more severe illness than women who are not pregnant. 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.
Guidance from medical societies
Women who are pregnant, want to become pregnant, or who are lactating and breastfeeding, also can take into consideration the recommendations of leading medical societies. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) all recommend that these patients be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
No evidence that the vaccine causes infertility
These societies also recommend the vaccine be offered to patients undergoing fertility treatment based on Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.
“Women who had COVID-19 develop substances in their body that can cause an immune response to the virus,” Flodin says. “They develop the exact same substances when they get the vaccine. So, if the vaccine caused infertility, we would be seeing it in women who already had the virus,” Flodin says. “It’s just not true that the vaccine causes infertility.”
Speak with your health care provider
Your decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should be informed by the most recent evidence and a conversation with your health care provider. You should discuss potential benefits and unknown risks of declining or receiving the vaccine while pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.
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