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Ask Mayo Clinic Health System: COVID-19 and the vaccines

From the COLLECTION: Ask Mayo Q&A on COVID-19, vaccine series
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Ask Mayo Clinic Health System: COVID-19 and the vaccines

Q: I’m pregnant, and I’ve heard that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is dangerous for the baby. Should I wait to get it until after I deliver?

A: Actually, getting the vaccine during pregnancy is perfectly safe for most women.

There is no evidence that any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines, causes fertility problems in men or women, or that they cause adverse pregnancy-related outcomes. To the contrary, pregnant and recently pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection. This can include hospitalization, the need for a ventilator to breathe, and even death.

Also, pregnant women who get COVID-19 are at an increased risk of preterm labor, which could lead to adverse delivery outcomes.

“Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at higher risk for both serious pregnancy complications and serious COVID-19 complications,” says Kaitlin Earley, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. “We know of no risks of the vaccine to a developing baby or pregnant woman beyond expected vaccine reactions (sore arm, body aches, low-grade fever, etc), but the risks of COVID infection are clear. I cannot recommend highly enough that women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant get the vaccine as soon as they are able.”

In addition, the vaccine may also provide protection to the baby. A pregnant mother who is vaccinated builds antibodies against COVID-19, and those antibodies can be found in umbilical cord blood. But more research is needed on how the antibodies may provide protection to babies after birth.

Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive highest-quality physical and virtual health care close to home.

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