Need to Know: COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Compared to non-pregnant persons with COVID-19 who are at the same age, pregnant patients are at higher risk of:

  • Developing respiratory complications
  • Being admitted to the ICU
  • Requiring life support measures – such as a ventilator or a heart-lung machine (ECMO)
  • Dying of COVID-19

Unfortunately,  pregnant individuals who are unvaccinated also experience higher rates of pre-term births and stillbirths.

 

In North Dakota eighty-three pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID-19. 78 (94%) of these women were unvaccinated.

 

Research has shown that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing serious COVID-19 in pregnant persons. Data has also found that a pregnant person’s primary COVID-19 vaccine series has been shown to be 61% effective against COVID-19 hospitalization among infants aged less than 6 months.

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions. Contact your healthcare provider directly to answer your specific questions about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines are proving to be effective at reducing the rates of severe COVID-19 in pregnant persons, and COVID-19 vaccines have not shown an increased rate of adverse events affecting both mother and baby, including no association with preterm birth or miscarriages.

No, none of available COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. Over 550 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the U.S. under the most intensive safety monitoring in our history. Results from these monitoring efforts are reassuring that COVID-19 vaccine is not associated with infertility, as thousands of women have become pregnant following vaccination. Additionally, the CDC is monitoring over 177,000 pregnant women who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. No unexpected pregnancy or infant outcomes have been observed, including miscarriages, related to COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.

The available COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) do not contain the live virus, so they can’t give you or your baby COVID-19.  The technologies introduce the vaccine’s components to your immune system, essentially teaching it how to fight COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are proving to be effective at reducing the rates of severe COVID-19 in pregnant persons, and COVID-19 vaccines have not shown an increased rate of adverse events affecting both mother and baby, including no association with preterm birth or miscarriages.

 

It’s important to protect you and your baby from increased risks of severe illness and/or pregnancy complications.

  1. Get Vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommend that pregnant, recently pregnant and/or lactating individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.

  1. Know Your Personal Risk Factors

It’s important to know your own personal risk factors in addition to your pregnancy. People are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19 if they:

    • Smoke
    • Are obese or overweight
    • Have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
    • Smoke
    • Have chronic lung conditions
  1. Make an Informed Decision

The CDC and other health experts agree that the benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy far outweigh any potential risks.
For specific medical questions, the North Dakota Department of Health recommends a pregnant individual to their trusted medical provider. This provider will be able to offer insight into a person’s individual medical decisions.

Below are some trusted sources of information for pregnant individuals looking to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine.

CDC COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
CDC COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Would Like to Have a Baby
ACOG COVID-19, Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients

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