LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine? It’s a common question a lot of mothers out there are asking.
With pregnant women soon becoming eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as the state rolls out its phase 1C criteria, should they opt to receive it?
Dr. Lyndsey Neese, Obstetrician, Medical Director of Quality for Women’s Services at Norton Healthcare, says, "I like to start the conversation with saying to my patients 'I support you in whatever your decision is, but now we have vaccinations, we have the vaccine that can protect you from the COVID-19 virus.'"
Soon-to-be moms should get the COVID-19 vaccine, that’s according to Dr. Neese, who says there doesn’t appear to be any harm in getting the shot.
"Pregnant women are having the same mild side effects that the general population is experiencing: arm pain at the vaccination site, low-grade fever, a small amount of fatigue, muscle aches," explains Dr. Neese.
Neese, along with new information released from a pregnancy registry known as V-Safe, found that there was no evidence of increases in miscarriages or other pregnancy complications when receiving either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Health professionals say pregnant women who contract the disease are five times more likely to end up in the ICU compared to non-pregnant women.
"During pregnancy, we have increased work of our heart, we have increased work of our kidneys, increased work of breathing, you’re supporting another life. As you’re doing that your immune response is a little down and you could become very ill," adds Dr. Neese.
She also explains the COVID-19 vaccine is believed to be safe for women who are also breastfeeding. Live vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women, but the COVID-19 vaccine is not live.
"The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that contain the mRNA it does not enter the nucleus of the cell and that is where DNA is made and that is where our genetics comes."
Neese does encourage her pregnant patients to wait until the first trimester to get the vaccine.
"We know our women in the second and third trimester have an increased chance of becoming severely ill even ICU admission if they contract the virus later in pregnancy."
She says she has had patients who recovered from COVID-19 and went on to have successful pregnancies.
"We’ve had pregnant women at Norton Healthcare in the ICU. We’ve had many come in with COVID-19 and cared for them and they’ve done well," says Neese.
And for the fertility myths, doctors say there’s no connection to the vaccine and infertility.
"The COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility. Our American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology firmly disputes this claim as does the American Society for Reproductive Medicine."
While studies have not been released yet, Neese suggests it’s likely for women who have had COVID-19 to pass protective antibodies on to their babies.
As always doctors are encouraging you to talk with your obstetrician before getting the shot.