Public health officials are urging pregnant and breastfeeding moms to get the COVID-19 vaccine – and soon.
A federal health advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention follows the release of new data showing a 70% increased risk of death from COVID-19 during pregnancy. Unvaccinated pregnant women also have a higher risk of early delivery or stillbirth.
Pregnancy and Vaccine Safety
Federal health officials, as part of their campaign to encourage pregnant women to get inoculated, are highlighting the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. As the health advisory notes, the vaccine does not increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects, nor does it affect fertility.
The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant. These recommendations have been endorsed by professional medical organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
COVID-19 Among Pregnant Women
Despite the benefits to mothers and their unborn babies, only 31% of pregnant women are vaccinated against COVID-19. Being unvaccinated leaves expectant moms vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, while pregnancy makes them more likely to experience severe symptoms and require intensive-level care.
Thus far, approximately 97% of pregnant women hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated. And in August, 22 pregnant women died of COVID-19, making it the single highest month for COVID-related pregnancy deaths since the pandemic began.
In contrast, getting vaccinated provides protection for both expectant moms and her baby. Getting vaccinated is the single most effective way to prevent serious illnesses, death and adverse pregnancy outcomes from the coronavirus.
A Precaution Not to be Overlooked
Women who are planning to get pregnant take many steps to prepare. Likewise, expectant moms pay extra attention to their health and safety for the sake of their baby.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one precaution they shouldn’t overlook. The sooner, the better, say the experts.