If you are pregnant, planning or trying to conceive, or lactating, then you might have questions about how COVID infection and vaccination can affect you and your baby. So here are some fast facts from reliable resources!
One of the most important things to know is that symptomatic COVID-19 infection in pregnancy is an independent risk factor for:
We know that COVID-19 can have detrimental effects on the pregnant person and fetus.
The good news is that the available COVID-19 vaccines can help decrease all of the above in pregnancy. The role of the COVID-19 vaccine is not to keep someone from getting COVID-19 infection, but instead to reduce the risk of fatality, hospitalization and the severity of illness.
The CDC, ACOG, and SMFM all agree that all eligible persons who are TTC, pregnant or lactating should receive a COVID-19 vaccine series. ObGyns and other health care practitioners should lead by example by being vaccinated and encouraging eligible patients to be vaccinated as well. While a conversation with a clinician may be helpful, it is not a requirement prior to vaccination, nor is having a pregnancy test necessary prior to vaccination.
There is no need to delay pregnancy following vaccine administration, and there are no trimester-specific indications for vaccination in pregnancy at this time. This means that the COVID-19 vaccination can be given in any trimester and emphasis should be on vaccine receipt ASAP to get YOU protected!
If you got pregnant after receiving your first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine that requires 2 doses, you should get your second shot as scheduled to get as much protection as possible. At this time, the mRNA vaccines are preferred in pregnancy, ie Pfizer or Moderna. Individuals who receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for their primary vaccines series should complete their two-dose series with the same vaccine product.
If you experience fever following vaccination, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen has been proven to be safe for use in pregnancy and does not appear to impact antibody response to COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines commonly given in pregnancy (i.e. flu and Tdap) can be given on the same day, as well as within 14 days.
ACOG, SMFM, and CDC all recommend that those persons who are TTC, pregnant or lactating receive a booster. If you have a primary vaccine series with Pfizer, you can get a booster with Pfizer or Moderna 5 months after the second dose. If you had a primary vaccine series with Moderna, If you had a primary single-dose vaccine with J&J, you can get a booster with Pfizer or Moderna 2 months after that single dose.
There continues to be circulating misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccination during lactation. There was a social media post circulating about a rash in an infant after the mother received the 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in lactation.
Dr. Savannah Malm, @rx0rcist on IG and Tik Tok and PharmD, IBCLC, and I teamed up to summarize what is known about COVID-19 vaccination during lactation and effects in infants!
Data does show a positive benefit to infants with vaccination in lactation via transfer of protective antibodies. One of the most important things to know is that CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION.
Go to my instagram account @babiesafter35 for more info on all things COVID-19 infection and vaccination in TTC, pregnancy and lactation. I have 24 highlights dedicated to various topics and share valuable info from other accounts I trust! My goal is to provide information to help you make the best decisions for you and your fertility journey!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
Check out the products for TTC through parenthood in the Babies After 35 Amazon shop, online courses and other services that come "Dr. Clark-approved"!Check out my favorite things