Pregnant Women and the COVID-19 Vaccine
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate; has been the hot button issue of the year. While more and more data is released, some people can make better, informed decisions about whether to vaccinate. However, one group that still seems to be looking for answers about the vaccine and its effects are pregnant women. The CDC is forthcoming with the fact that there is limited research regarding the vaccine and pregnant women. There is, however, data regarding the negative impact of COVID-19 and pregnancy, and more studies are being released over time about the vaccine's effect on pregnant women.
According to the CDC, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as compared to non-pregnant people. Not only that but there may also be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, like preterm birth.
This information is backed up by a study released from JAMA Internal Medicine. In this study, 400,066 pregnant women without COVID-19 and 6,380 pregnant women with COVID-19 were monitored during their pregnancy. The results showed that while in-hospital mortality was low in both groups, it was significantly higher for women with COVID-19. The rate of preterm birth, myocardial infarction (heart attacks), and venous thromboembolism (a condition where blood clots form, typically in the veins of the leg or groin area) were also higher in pregnant women who had COVID-19.
So far, there have been 84,629 cases (and counting) of pregnant women getting COVID-19 in the US, and among the 66,116 of those who gave access to their hospitalization records, 21% of them were hospitalized. Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom. The mortality rate because of COVID-19 in pregnant women is quite low, with only 92 total deaths in the US. Infants that were born from infected parents rarely had the virus and those that did typically had mild to no symptoms and recovered.
So, COVID-19 can cause increased risk to pregnant women, but is the vaccine just as harmful? The World Health Organization (WHO), said in January that while there is very little data on the COVID-19 vaccine, there are no specific risks that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women. Since then, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology released a study concluding that the vaccine was just as effective in pregnant women as it was in non-pregnant women and immune transfer to neonates occurred via the placenta and breast milk.
An ongoing study being completed by the Mayo Clinic has found that, so far, pregnant women have generally had the same reaction to the vaccine as non-pregnant women and that pregnancy outcomes such as stillbirths, pregnancy complications, and infant outcomes in vaccinated pregnant women are the same as those who are unvaccinated. Meaning that so far, vaccination has not shown any effect on pregnancy complications.
While there are only a few studies out there, it is seeming as though the American COVID-19 vaccines do not have an adverse effect on the health of pregnant women. At the end of the day, the CDC has said pregnant women can get the vaccine but didn’t go so far as to say they should. So should pregnant women get vaccinated? There are plenty of studies showing that COVID-19 can be dangerous to pregnant women’s health and the few studies that are out, point to signs that the vaccine is safe for both the pregnant woman and the baby, however, it all comes down to personal choice and what you are comfortable with.
In general, there is little research on the effect of the vaccine on pregnant women.
However, we do know that COVID-19 can cause complications during pregnancy and pregnant women are at an increased risk of COVID-19 related hospitalizations.
A study done by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that the vaccine was just as effective in pregnant women as it was in non-pregnant women.
There is an ongoing study being completed by the Mayo Clinic, that has shown evidence that the vaccine may not have any adverse effects on pregnant women.