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New Data Analysis Underscores Recommendation: All Patients – Especially Pregnant Patients – Should Receive COVID-19 Vaccine ASAP
Dr. Mark Hyde, OB/GYN at Virginia Physicians For Women, shares studies from the Centers for Disease Control and American College of Obstetricians that show pregnant and recently pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, that vaccination during or before pregnancy is safe, and that it does not increase risk of miscarriage or infertility.
We know you are constantly being bombarded with information about this topic from many differing groups, all with differing motivations, but this message is being brought to you by physicians whose sole responsibility is the wellbeing of their patients, and for those who are pregnant, the wellbeing of their babies. As new data analysis comes out, the Centers for Disease Control, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and all VPFW providers strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination for all people twelve years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
It’s getting crowded in hospitals – both in the ICUs and unfortunately in labor and delivery – with patients who are unvaccinated. Vaccination is approved and recommended at any point during pregnancy.
Keep reading to learn why.
Pregnant Women are at Increased Risk
for Severe Illness and Preterm Birth Due to COVID-19
As VPFW’s Dr. Jennie Draper emphasized in our recent blog post, “ACOG urges women who are pregnant or trying to conceive not to wait on COVID-19 vaccination,” all recent studies show that pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
All Current Studies Show Vaccines are Safe and Effective
During and Before Pregnancy
“The vaccines are safe and effective,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallensky, “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.”
Scientists have compared the pregnancies of women who have received COVID-19 vaccines and women who have not. The reports show that these women have had similar pregnancy outcomes. The data do not show any safety concerns.
Vaccination During or Before Pregnancy
Does Not Increase Risk of Miscarriage
Furthermore, new CDC data analysis shows that there is not a higher risk of miscarriage when receiving a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine before or during pregnancy. “Miscarriage typically occurs in about 11-16% of pregnancies, and this study found miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13%, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population.”
There is No Evidence that
COVID-19 Vaccines Affect Fertility
As VPFW’s Dr. Amanda Vaughan shared in her Vaccine FAQ’s blog post, ACOG notes that claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and have no scientific evidence supporting them. It recommends vaccination for all eligible people who may consider future pregnancy.
Breastfeeding After Vaccination
Can Help Protect Your Baby
The CDC and ACOG recommend breastfeeding women be vaccinated. After you are vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body may be passed through breastmilk and may help protect your baby from the virus.
Vaccine Side Effects Can Be Treated in Pregnant Women
Pregnant patients who have discomfort after getting a vaccination shot may take acetaminophen. The over-the-counter medication is safe during pregnancy. If your discomfort lasts more than a couple days, talk with your OB/GYN.
Discuss Your Personal Risks with Your OB/GYN
If you have questions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, check out ACOG’s FAQ’s, “Why Should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine While Pregnant?” and don’t hesitate to reach out to your obstetrician. A conversation with your physician is not required for receiving the vaccine, but it will help you understand the recommendation with regard to your personal situation and health history.
Patients who work in certain jobs, such as healthcare, may be at higher risk of COVID-19 infection. Certain health conditions like obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure or immunocompromised states may also increase your risk. Your physician will be happy to discuss your personal risks of getting infected with COVID-19 and how it could affect your pregnancy.
About Mark Hyde, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Dr. Mark Hyde is an OB/GYN at Virginia Physicians for Women who sees patients at VPFW’s Midlothian Turnpike office (moving in late October to Koger Center Boulevard) near Johnston-Willis Hospital. He was recently named a Top Doc in Richmond Magazine and has also won awards for his bedside manner. He enjoys traveling, sailing, volunteering with local free clinics, and participating in medical missions in Central America and Asia. To learn more about Dr. Hyde’s practice, go to vpfw.com.