Pregnant or trying? Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine
2 MINUTE READ
Online myths about the vaccines have been alarming women about their ability to get pregnant and breastfeed. We’re here to debunk them.
If you’re a healthy woman thinking about having children or trying to get pregnant, you’ve probably seen a social media post or heard someone claim that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility.
Here’s the thing: There’s no evidence that it’s true. The same goes for several other false rumors spreading like wildfire these days.
Health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that it’s unlikely the vaccine poses a risk to women trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. In fact, the best way for women to protect themselves, their ability to get pregnant—as well as their unborn or nursing babies—is to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
Let’s see what science has to say about these internet myths.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility or miscarriages?
Doctors from Johns Hopkins are blunt: “The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility.”
They shed light on the source of the rumors claiming otherwise and debunk a host of other myths in an article on their blog.
Three other notable statistics:
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that 20,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated against COVID-19 without complications.
- Millions of women have been infected with COVID-19 and recovered, and there are no reports of infertility among this enormous group or increased rates of miscarriage, according to experts from the Mayo Clinic.
- In the Pfizer vaccination trial, 23 women volunteers became pregnant. Only one had a pregnancy loss, but she received a placebo and not the actual vaccine.
The best course of action if you’re thinking about or trying to become pregnant? Talk with your doctor who knows you and your health best. Relying on the internet is definitely not the way to go here.
Is it safe to breastfeed after getting vaccinated?
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA-based vaccines. The CDC says that there is no evidence that mRNA vaccines pose any risk to breastfed babies.
It is unlikely that the vaccine crosses into breast milk. Even if it did, the vaccine’s components would travel to the baby’s stomach where they would be digested and discarded. There is simply no evidence that mRNA vaccines given to a mother pose any risk to a breastfed baby.
What is likely is that a vaccinated mother will develop antibodies that protect against COVID-19. These antibodies do pass through breast milk, protecting the baby, too.
It’s true that nursing moms were excluded from the vaccine trials, so again the very best answer: talk with your doctor and your baby’s doctor. They know you, your baby and what’s best for your health.
Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, but current guidelines from the CDC recommend that pregnant women who are eligible for vaccination consult their doctor to think about things like:
- How likely you are of being exposed to the virus
- Your risks of contracting COVID-19, including underlying health conditions
- Unknown consequences, as none of the clinical vaccine trials included pregnant women
Keep in mind that many vaccines, including those for the flu and tetanus, have been safely given to pregnant women for many years. And that pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at higher risk for severe illness, being hospitalized in an intensive care unit and requiring a high level of care, and giving birth prematurely.