Obstetric, Neonatal, Pediatric, and Midwifery Organizations Encourage Pregnant
Women and Those Trying to Become Pregnant be Vaccinated for COVID-19
Written by Melissa Bean Sterzick
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society
for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the American College of Nurse-Midwives,
the American Academy of Pediatrics, and many other notable medical associations
have joined to strongly urge pregnant women to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Parenthood and pregnancy bring with them many hopes, needs, and questions.
Parents want what’s best for their baby and they want to secure
the health of the delivering mother.
The pandemic has created challenges for pregnant women, changing the way
deliveries are attended and presenting an important question about vaccination.
The organizations’ statement says pregnant women, women planning
to become pregnant, and breastfeeding women should feel confident in choosing
vaccination to protect themselves, their infants, and their families.
Recent data shows that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women
and important for the best outcomes for them and their babies.
The CDC and a list of professional medical organizations, such as ACOG
and SMFM, which serve women of reproductive age, including adolescents,
emphasize that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes a
loss of fertility.
These organizations also recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people who
may consider getting pregnant in the future
Dr. Latrice Allen, a partner at Modern Women’s Care and Chief of
the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Torrance Memorial, says
she recommends the vaccine and urges expectant mothers to take in the
facts and do what is right for them.
“I encourage patients to be vaccinated, but it’s a choice women
have to make for themselves,” she says.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that
the vaccine is safe and necessary. That’s important information,”
she says. “Add that to your doctor’s recommendation and you
have a good place to start making that decision.”
A healthy parent and a healthy baby are the goal. Data from tens of thousands
of reporting individuals have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe
and effective when given during pregnancy. The same data is reassuring
when it comes to infants born to vaccinated individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control also recommends vaccination for pregnant
women. Expectant women have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection.
A severe infection means an expectant mother is more likely to need hospitalization,
intensive care, and a ventilator.
Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill
from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Cases are rising as a result
of the Delta variant, so the best way for pregnant individuals to protect
themselves is to be vaccinated.
Pregnant women who are older than 25, have underlying medical conditions
(in addition to pregnancy) such as obesity or diabetes, or who work in
areas where social distancing is difficult or not possible have an even
higher risk. In addition, pregnant women who are Black or Hispanic are
disproportionately affected by infection with the COVID-19 virus.
Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience preterm
birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and can be more likely
to have pregnancy complications when compared to pregnant women without COVID-19.
Expecting mothers who want the COVID-19 vaccine, or have questions about
its safety, should see their obstetrician. In addition, the CDC offers
a phone number and chat line for questions about receiving the vaccine
while pregnant at MotherToBaby.org. MotherToBaby experts are available
to answer questions in English or Spanish by phone or chat. To reach MotherToBaby:
- Call 1-866-626-6847
- Visit mothertobaby.org