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3 facts about COVID-19 vaccines for moms-to-be
We're still learning about COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. But based on what we do know, experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say there is no reason why moms-to-be should not get the vaccine, if they choose to do so.
If you have questions about the safety of the vaccine for you and your baby, you can always talk with your doctor. In the meantime, check out some facts:
1. Being pregnant raises your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19. This includes a higher risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit and needing a ventilator to help with breathing. Having COVID-19 might also raise the risk of pregnancy problems, such as having early labor and birth. Getting vaccinated may help protect you, your loved ones and even your baby.
2. There isn't much safety data yet. Pregnant women were not enrolled in the first COVID-19 vaccine studies. Some women who enrolled became pregnant during the trials, however. So far, experts have not found any safety concerns among those women. More studies specifically for pregnant women are now underway. In addition, you can sign up for CDC's v-safe smartphone tool and the v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry, where pregnant women who have been vaccinated can describe any effects they might be experiencing.
3. The vaccines aren't likely to pose a risk. This belief is based on how the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines work. For example, they do not contain live viruses or viruses that copy themselves. So they cannot make you sick with COVID-19. They cannot change your DNA. And despite the myth going around, there's no evidence that mRNA vaccines—or any vaccines—cause infertility.
The vaccines have not been studied on people who breastfeed their babies. But again, because of the way they work, they are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding babies, according to CDC.
Start a conversation
Talking with your doctor is a good idea if you need help deciding whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine. But you don't have to do so in order to get a shot.
If you decide to have that chat, you may want to discuss things like:
- How likely you are to be exposed to the virus. This can depend on things like your job, the people who live with you and the spread of the virus in your area.
- The risks of not getting vaccinated. If you were to get COVID-19, how might it affect you and your baby or the people in your home?
- What is and isn't known about the safety of the vaccines and how well they work.
- How getting vaccinated may benefit you.
You can also call the MotherToBaby hotline to get answers to your questions, CDC suggests. You can reach them at 866.626.6847 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.