From concerns over the Delta variant to wondering when this will all be over, dozens of frequently asked questions about the coronavirus spin on a nightly brain loop. And if you’re expecting a child, the question of whether or not to get a Covid-19 vaccine while pregnant has no doubt crossed (or clouded) your mind. Thankfully, there’s guidance available now to help answer questions about the coronavirus vaccine and pregnancy — including when might be the most ideal time to receive the shot.
Should You Get A Covid-19 Vaccine If You’re Pregnant?
Turn to organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the message is clear: If you are pregnant right now, you should get a Covid-19 vaccination. Recent studies have pointed out that babies born of a person who received a mNRA Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy can develop and be born with anitbodies that may offer protections against the virus.
Jeanne S. Sheffield, Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, understands the concerns of pregnant people when it comes to weighing their options. “The second you find out you’re pregnant, you go into protective mode. But people have to understand that pregnancy is a true risk factor for severe Covid disease.” The CDC reported on their website that those who are infected with Covid-19 and are pregnant “are at increased risk of preterm birth, and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes.” There are no documented risks of the vaccination in pregnant women over the normal baseline risk, Sheffield says, “and the benefit of it far, far outweighs that.”
Just 26% of pregnant Americans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine while they were expecting, according to CDC data from earlier this month. This makes them “among the nation’s most hesitant populations,” says the Washington Post, though the risks of Covid-19 to pregnant people is very clear: At least 171 pregnant people have died, including 22 in August alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week and in an urgent health advisory.
When During Pregnancy Is The Best Time To Get A Covid-19 Vaccine?
It’s natural to wonder if the first trimester is the best time in a pregnancy to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. During those first few weeks and months, you’re questioning the safety of just about everything in your life, from food to the height of your shoe heel. But Sheffield tells Romper, “There haven’t been any data showing that there was an increase in Teratogenic risk, so any congenital abnormalities associated with the vaccine, which is what people always worry about the first trimester.”
Sheffield says a pregnant person may receive a Covid-19 vaccine at any stage of the pregnancy, but that sooner, rather than later, may be better. “We do have some data now saying that like other respiratory viruses, Covid-19 disease may be a little bit worse in the second and third trimester.” Plus, there are new studies that support the idea that getting vaccinated earlier in a pregnancy may offer more protections to the baby.
If you’re pregnant, a conversation with your doctors and healthcare providers may offer guidance, but know that you can receive the vaccination from multiple providers outside of your doctor’s office.
Jeanne S. Sheffield, M.D., Professor and Director, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine