COVID-19 Vaccine: Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding — or planning to have a child in the years ahead — you may be wondering if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for you and your baby. For guidance, you can rely on the recommendations outlined by leading health care organizations and the advice of your own health care provider, who knows you best.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that pregnant women should not be disqualified from receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved and distributed in the United States. Both organizations recommend that women should decide for themselves, with the guidance of their own physicians. You don’t need your provider’s approval to receive the vaccine, but if you’re concerned about your decision, consult with your doctor.

Pregnant Women At Higher Risk Of Serious COVID-19 Illness

Early data shows that women who are pregnant have a higher likelihood of experiencing serious illness from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women at the same age. They’re more likely to be admitted to the hospital, more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, and more likely to die. This is similar to the effect the H1N1 outbreak had in 2009, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Most COVID-19 symptoms are the same in pregnant women as in those who aren’t pregnant, including respiratory and widespread organ distress. However, obstetricians/gynecologists are always concerned about blood clots during pregnancy — and blood clots are a potential manifestation of COVID-19.

Vaccines Pose No Threat To Unborn Child

The vaccines currently available in the United States use technology that poses no threat to an unborn child. The vaccines trick the cells into making the spike protein from the coronavirus — the one that causes the virus to adhere to receptors in the body’s cells and make you sick. As a result, the body begins producing antibodies to the spike proteins to protect you. These vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

Research is ongoing, but it’s likely that a pregnant woman who receives the vaccine and develops antibodies to the virus will pass those antibodies on to her unborn child. Similarly, a nursing mother who receives the vaccine could help pass the antibodies on to her baby.

Special Considerations For Women Of Color

Because people of color are more likely to have severe disease or die from COVID-19, pregnant women in at-risk populations should make getting a COVID-19 vaccine a high priority.

Becoming Pregnant

If you’re planning or trying to become pregnant, there’s no early indication that COVID-19 vaccines would affect a woman or man’s ability to conceive. Because the disease affects everyone differently, talk with your physician about your own risk for COVID-19.

When You’re Expecting During COVID-19

Learn more about pregnancy and childbirth during the pandemic, and find resources to support you during pregnancy.