Dr. Michelle Ownes
It is that time of year again… the summer transition to fall brings cooler temperatures and with it, the start of cold and flu season. In light of the COVID pandemic, this may seem insignificant, but for many individuals, now is the time to get protected, especially for expecting mothers. Pregnancy poses special considerations especially as it pertains to vaccinations.
Pregnancy is a special, exciting time. To allow for the growth and development of her baby a woman’s body must undergo drastic changes. While these changes occur automatically, some of them render the mother more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections and may also pose a threat to the developing baby. However, there are vaccines that can be given safely during pregnancy. Among these are Tdap (Whooping Cough), COVID-19, Influenza (flu), Hepatitis, Pneumococcus (Pneumonia), and Meningococcus (Meningitis), to name a few.
Changes to the maternal immune system, lungs, and heart place pregnant and recently pregnant mothers at increased risk of severe illness and death from influenza and COVID-19. The most effective prevention against these infections is vaccination. Both the Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are safe, FDA approved, and recommended for pregnant mothers in any trimester. The vaccines do not cause infection in mothers or their babies, but instead provide needed protection against these life-threatening infections. Additionally, mothers can pass protective antibodies to their babies across the placenta and through their breast milk. It takes about 2 weeks to form these protective antibodies after vaccination, so waiting until after delivery leaves mother and baby vulnerable during pregnancy.
Furthermore, there is NO DATA to support that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women or men. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women have received the vaccine either while pregnant or have become pregnant after receiving the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in preventing hospitalization and severe disease. Therefore, those eager to conceive (and their partners) may be vaccinated without fear of harm to a future pregnancy.
Hoping that you have a healthy pregnancy during this wonderful time of the year! Stay safe. Get vaccinated.