FAQs about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The latest CDC data shows just 23 percent of pregnant people have been vaccinated against COVID-19. They reported so far there is no evidence to show the vaccines cause any fertility problems, either.

Pregnant people with COVID-19 are more likely to go into pre-term labor and more likely to have other symptoms of severe illness.

A study published in the JAMA medical journal this month found COVID-19 infection in pregnant people made them 14 times more likely to need a ventilator and 15 times more likely to die.

For many expectant parents, the pandemic has been a challenging time. Deciding on whether to get the COVID-19 shots is a difficult choice. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and pregnancy

Below are answers to frequently asked questions listed on the World Health Organizations website:

Click here for questions about COVID-19 and breastfeeding.

Can COVID-19 be passed from a woman to her unborn or newborn baby?

We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around the baby in the womb or breastmilk.

Do pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 need to give birth by cesarean section?

No. WHO advice is that cesarean sections should only be performed when medically justified.

The mode of birth should be individualized and based on a woman’s preferences alongside obstetric indications.

Can I touch and hold my newborn baby if I have COVID-19?

Yes. Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive. You should be supported to

  • Breastfeed safely, with good respiratory hygiene;
  • Hold your newborn skin-to-skin, and
  • Share a room with your baby

You should wash your hands before and after touching your baby and keep all surfaces clean. Mothers with symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to wear a medical mask, during any contact with the baby.

Can pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes, pregnant women can be vaccinated against COVID-19, in consultation with their healthcare provider.   

Limited data are currently available to assess the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy. However, based on what we know about the kinds of vaccines being used, there is no specific reason for concern. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized to date use live viruses, which are more likely to pose risks during pregnancy.    

Before getting vaccinated, pregnant women should discuss with their healthcare provider whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.  

The benefits may be greatest for pregnant women at the highest risk from COVID-19, such as frontline health workers, people living in areas of high transmission, and those with health conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes that add to their risk of severe disease.   

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