New data affirm the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant people, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to strengthen its recommendation that expectant women be vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies.
An analysis of COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring data found no increased risk of miscarriage among expectant women who received the COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Previously released data from three safety monitoring systems had already affirmed the safety of receiving the vaccine late in pregnancy.
Release of the new data comes at a critical juncture as public health officials reinforce the importance anyone ages 12 and older getting vaccinated amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has led to an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our region and across the country.
“The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people,” the CDC wrote.
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Pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness and pregnancy complications, including preterm birth, from COVID-19. However, as of July 31, only about 23 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. had received at least one dose of vaccine, far less than the general population.
“I can now tell all of my patients that receiving the vaccine is recommended by leading medical organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the CDC,” says Tidelands Health OB-GYN Dr. Monica Selander, who practices Tidelands Health Women’s Center. “That’s a very strong message that I hope encourages more pregnant people to receive the vaccine.”
A growing body of evidence, including the most recent data, suggests the benefits of receiving the vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
Among the key findings: Pregnant women who choose to be vaccinated may help protect their babies both before and after birth.
COVID-19 antibodies that battle the disease circulate through a vaccinated mother’s body and into umbilical cord blood, the bridge between mom and fetus, and have been found in the breastmilk of vaccinated mothers. Those antibodies can then be transferred to the infant for another layer of protection after birth.
Important to mom's health
Getting vaccinated is also important to the health of expectant mothers, who face an increased risk for becoming severely ill with COVID-19 because of the physiological changes that take place during pregnancy, Dr. Selander says.
“The body is undergoing increased stress as its systems work to support mom and the baby,” explains Dr. Selander. “The respiratory and cardiovascular systems and the immune system are all under an increased strain to support the fetus.
“In general, a pregnant mom is more susceptible to being sick, and if she’s fighting an illness the systems can be overloaded and fail. They just don’t have as much ability to fight illness off.”
Tidelands Health offers the no-cost COVID-19 vaccine at three regional vaccination sites in Horry and Georgetown counties. Appointments aren’t necessary; you can simply walk in to get the vaccine during the clinics’ regular operating hours.
“Everyone ages 12 and older should feel comfortable getting the vaccine, including pregnant women,” says Dr. Selander. “Getting the vaccine will help protect you, your family and help us put this pandemic behind us.”
Dr. Monica Selander
OB-GYN, Tidelands Health Women's Center
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Tidelands Health OB-GYN Dr. Monica Selander offers care at Tidelands Health Women’s Center.Learn More
- Norwich University
- University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Michigan State University
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Dr. Monica Selander
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Tidelands Health OB-GYN Dr. Monica Selander offers care at Tidelands Health Women’s Center.