Delivering on The Family Place

To help maternity patients prepare for their labor and delivery on The Family Place, we've published a resource for pregnant women and their partners.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Pregnancy and COVID-19 Vaccination*

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*For a reference list download the brochure.

What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccines prevent moderate and severe COVID-19. Getting a vaccine will prevent you from getting very sick with COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines may reduce spread. The vaccine may help keep you from giving COVID-19 to people around you.

These vaccines have no live virus and do NOT contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant people or to the fetus. Many vaccines are routinely given in pregnancy and are safe (for example tetanus, diphtheria, and flu).

What are the risks and unknowns of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Each vaccine was tested in over 20,000 people and there were no serious side effects.
  • We do not know if the vaccines work as well in pregnancy as they do in non-pregnant people.
  • We know that in studies done by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, there were no adverse effects on female reproduction or fetal development.
  • So far, the mRNA vaccines have been given to over 30,000 pregnant people in the U.S. who registered with the CDC.
  • Of those pregnancies, 275 have been reported as complete. The number of miscarriages in people who got the vaccine (15%) was about the same as we see in pregnant people who have NOT
    gotten a COVID-19 vaccine (10-25 %).
  • Birth defects were seen in the same number of people as in the general population who have NOT gotten a COVID-19 vaccine (3-4%).

People getting the vaccine will probably have some side effects. This is a normal response by the immune system. These effects are more common after the second dose and in the mRNA vaccines but
were not more common in pregnancy.

Most Common Side Effects
• Arm pain (~84%)
• Fatigue (~62%)
• Fever (~14%)
• Muscle pain (~38%)
• Chills (~32%)
• Joint pain (~24%)

Of every 100-500 people who get a vaccine, one will get a high fever (over 102°F). A persistent high fever during the first trimester might increase the risk of fetal abnormalities or miscarriage. The CDC recommends using acetaminophen during pregnancy if you have a high fever. Another option is to delay your COVID-19 vaccine until after the first trimester.

What do the experts recommend?

The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccines for adults.9 However, because there are no studies of pregnant people yet, there are no clear recommendations for pregnant people. This is standard for a new drug and early research of the vaccines in pregnancy is reassuring.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine strongly recommends that pregnant individuals have access to COVID-19 vaccines and that each person talk to their doctor or midwife about their own
personal choice.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant individuals.

The World Health Organization states the mRNA vaccine can be given to people who are breastfeeding without stopping breastfeeding after vaccination. They recommend that pregnant people at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 or with medical problems may be vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider.

What about breastfeeding?

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine reports that there is no reason to believe that the COVID-19 vaccine affects the safety of breast milk. When you have an infection or get a vaccine, your body makes antibodies to fight the infection. Antibodies formed from vaccines given during pregnancy do pass into breast milk and then to your baby to help prevent infections. Since the vaccine does not contain the virus, there is no risk of breast milk containing the virus.

What else should I think about to help me decide?

Make sure you understand as much as you can about COVID-19 and about the vaccine. Ask a trusted source, like your midwife or doctor. Think about your own personal risk.

The risks of getting sick from COVID-19 are higher if…

  • You have contact with people outside your home
  • You are 35 years old or older
  • You are overweight
  • You have other medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
  • You are a smoker
  • You are a racial or ethnic minority, or your community has a high rate of COVID-19 infections
  • You are a healthcare worker
    ...it probably makes sense to get the vaccine.

If you are not at higher risk for COVID-19 and…

  • You always wear a mask
  • You and the people you live with can socially distance from others for the whole pregnancy
  • Your community does NOT have high or increasing COVID-19 cases
  • You think the vaccine itself will make you very nervous (you are more worried about the unknown risks than about getting COVID-19)
  • You have had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine
    ...it might make sense for you to wait for more information.

Summary

  • COVID-19 seems to cause more harm in pregnant people than in people of the same age who are not pregnant.
  • The risks of getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy are thought to be small but are not totally known.
  • You should consider your own personal risk of getting COVID-19.
  • If your personal risk is high, or there are many cases of COVID-19 in your community, it probably makes sense for you to get a vaccine while pregnant.
  • Whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy is your choice.

If you have more questions, call your doctor or midwife to talk about your decision.

Pregnancy and COVID-19

How does COVID-19 affect pregnant women?

Limited data suggest that the course of COVID-19 may be the same in pregnant women as for anyone else. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of serious infection. However, though data is limited at this time, there is not a greater risk for acquiring COVID-19 in pregnant women compared to other adults.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

Pregnant women should practice social distancing as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Common hygiene practices to help reduce the risk of infection include:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
• Avoid people who are sick;
• Use the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

Can pregnant women pass COVID-19 to their fetus during pregnancy?

Limited data has shown no evidence of the COVID-19 virus in amniotic fluid or breast milk. Though there have been very few COVID-19 cases reported in newborns, it is suspected that transmission can occur after birth by way of respiratory droplets spread from the mother.

What should I do if I am infected with COVID-19?

If you are infected with COVID-19, the interdisciplinary care team (including an obstetric provider, a pediatrician, and Concord Hospital’s Infectious Disease department) will plan the best course of treatment for you and your newborn baby in alignment with the most up-to-date recommendations from the CDC.

I am feeling symptomatic; I have a fever, cough and other respiratory symptoms. What do you recommend?

Please call your primary care provider’s (PCP) office or your OB office to report your symptoms. Your provider will consult with colleagues to determine a need for testing. They will provide you with instructions for further follow-up.

Breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19. What is the guidance?

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Decisions about breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers. A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is suspected to have COVID-19 should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

What should I expect during my hospital stay during this pandemic?

The Family Place would like to make your experience as routine as possible. Please refer to our visitor policy as it relates to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are updating this frequently. Please bring all of your belongings when first arriving at Hospital. This includes a car seat, bags, snacks, phone chargers, etc. You can enter through the Visitor Entrance (near the Hospital cafeteria) between the hours of 6 am - 7 pm; otherwise, you will enter through the Emergency Department. You will be screened by a Concord Hospital representative when you enter the building.