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What pregnant and breastfeeding women should know about COVID-19 vaccine

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Should pregnant and breastfeeding women be vaccinated for COVID-19? While there is limited data about current COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant and breastfeeding patients, there are many questions.

Dr. Regan Theiler, a Mayo Clinic obstetrician shares a Q&A about COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women.

Should pregnant women be vaccinated for COVID-19?
If women so choose, they should be able to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Can a fetus get COVID-19 if the mother is vaccinated for COVID-19?

Through vaccination for COVID-19, the baby should not be exposed to the virus. It is known that the COVID-19 vaccines are the genetic code for a single protein. It doesn’t replicate in a person. It doesn’t cause an infection with COVID-19. There’s no virus floating around in a woman. Any vaccine that has a live virus that’s replicating is not used in pregnant women because of any theoretical risk. It is thought that there is no risk that this would cause an infection in a pregnant woman and cause an infection that goes to the baby.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for pregnant women?
There is no conceivable reason why COVID-19 vaccines should be harmful to pregnant women. None of the components of the vaccines ― the nanoparticles ― are known to be harmful in pregnancy. The best evidence for pregnant women suggests that being vaccinated for COVID-19 is a lot safer than getting COVID-19.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for women who are breastfeeding?
There is no indication that COVID-19 vaccines are harmful or damaging to women who are breastfeeding or their infants.

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?
There’s no evidence of COVID-19 vaccines causing infertility. If that were true, then women who had COVID-19 ― millions of women now ― would be more likely to have miscarriages and not get pregnant. That’s because they would have those same antibodies because it’s the identical gene producing the identical kinds of antibodies in the virus infection and in the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Do you have recommendations for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are planning a pregnancy, to avoid getting infected with COVID-19?
Everyone should continue social distancing. Everyone should continue masking. All of those safety measures apply to pregnant women, lactating women and women who are contemplating a pregnancy. There are no formal recommendations yet. Knowing how good these COVID-19 vaccines are at preventing infection and how dangerous the infection is in pregnancy, the recommendation is that women stay on their contraception, go through the COVID-19 vaccination series, and then contemplate conception. COVID-19 vaccines are known to be effective.

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