January 20, 2021
The COVID -19 Vaccine and Pregnant and Lactating People
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 0 Comments
Here we are, a few days shy of one year from the date when the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the USA, about 10 miles from my home in Seattle, WA, and only 13 months since the world learned for the first time of this soon to be prolific and devastating virus.
Here in the United States, there are currently two vaccines that are approved and being administered to the public in a series of rolled out phases: Pfizer-BioNtech mRNA vaccine and Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine. Globally, those vaccines in addition to others from different manufacturers have been also approved and are available. Childbirth educators and other perinatal professionals are being frequently asked by pregnant and lactating people if it is appropriate and safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Initial testing for the vaccines did not include pregnant or lactating volunteers and there is limited information on efficacy, safety, or the impact on the fetus or human milk.
Several prominent and respected organizations; American College of Nurse-Midwives, Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health have just jointly released a “COVID Vaccine Advice if You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding” statement to help families understand current knowledge, and make a decision on choosing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 while pregnant or lactating. This document is current, easy to understand and very useful to share with families.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also released a statement with recommendations: “Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19.”
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada has provided information as well: "SOGC Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination in Pregnancy".
If a pregnant or lactating person does choose to get vaccinated in the United States, in addition to participating in the Centers for Disease Control’s V-Safe program - an after vaccination health checker which is open to all people, they can also enroll in specific trials and studies looking at impacts on pregnancy, the fetus and lactation. The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine has aggregated a list of those registries here.
The summaries of all the above documents conclude that the benefits of the vaccination seem to outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19 while pregnant which has been shown to put pregnant people at higher risk of increased morbidity and mortality.
Each person, in consultation with their doctor or midwife, should discuss current information and benefits and risks for their own situation. This conversation may help them to make a decision on whether to proceed with the vaccination.
Childbirth educators should stay current on the latest statements by leading perinatal organizations and share them and future updates with interested families in their classes.How have you been handling these questions from concerned families? Let us know in the comments below.
TagsChildbirth education Vaccinations Sharon Muza COVID-19 Coivd and Pregnancy Covid and lactation