Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination

We know that thinking about becoming pregnant or being pregnant can be an exciting, scary and sometimes overwhelming time in a person's life. Add in the COVID-19 global pandemic and it can be hard to sift through what feels like mountains of data to make an informed decision about your health and the health of your baby.

With that in mind, we put together a quick Q&A to help you quickly understand the COVID-19 vaccine recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant or who are breastfeeding, possible side effects and why it's important for you – and for the health of your baby – to get vaccinated. 

What the CDC says

  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.
  • Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. The data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
  • There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause infertility problems in women or men.
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness.
  • Read the CDC's safety data about getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Answers to your questions

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. We recommend that pregnant women receive the vaccine since it is highly effective at preventing severe infection and almost all pregnant people can receive the vaccine safely.

Swedish, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and many other public health organizations, recommend that people who are pregnant, are intending to become pregnant, or who are postpartum or breastfeeding, get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

I’m pregnant, why should I do this? 

COVID-19 is dangerous for you, and it is dangerous for your baby. During pregnancy, the immune system changes and makes it more likely for you to catch and get sick from COVID-19, which may require hospitalization or admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus makes this risk worse, and we are currently seeing more pregnant people in our ICUs on ventilators and needing intense medical treatment. 

These severe infections are preventable by being vaccinated, which can save pregnant people, their baby and their family needless illness and suffering.

Will the vaccine cause negative side effects? 

For most people the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are minor and may include headache, fatigue, fever, body aches or soreness at the injection site. These side effects are signs that your immune system is working and responding to the vaccine to make antibodies so you will recognize and be able to fight off COVID-19 if you are exposed to it in the future. 

What if I get a high fever after getting vaccinated?

If you develop a fever over 100.4 degrees (as with fever from any cause in pregnancy), we recommend taking acetaminophen such as Tylenol.

Will it hurt my baby or make me infertile?

Studies performed show that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in miscarriages with no adverse effects to fertility in the animal studies they did during the vaccine testing. These studies also show there are no negative effects to pregnancy such as preterm birth or developmental problems for baby.

This vaccine is new, has it been tested and approved?

The technology behind this vaccine (mRNA delivery) has been researched and used clinically for 10 years. The vaccine for COVID-19 is new because the disease is new, but the science behind it is not. These are not experimental drugs, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23, 2021.

I had COVID-19 already, do I still need to get vaccinated?

We recommend the vaccine for people who have had an infection in the past as we are still studying how long people have immunity from COVID-19 after they have the disease. Immunity does seem to fade with time, as there are people who have had COVID-19 multiple times. 

Can I still get sick after having the vaccine?

This is possible with any vaccine, and you may still contract COVID-19 after being vaccinated and this is called a “breakthrough infection.” The breakthrough infections we are seeing are generally mild, and people do not frequently end up seriously sick with COVID-19 if they are vaccinated.

I have a medical condition, should I still get the vaccine?

We encourage you to speak with your health care provider about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine There are rare cases where people should not get the vaccine, but it is safe for the vast majority of people. 

Find a doctor

Whether you require an in-person visit or want a virtual consultation, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow-up as needed. If you need to find a physician, caregiver or advanced care practitioner, you can use our provider directory.

Find out the latest updates on how we’re handling COVID-19.

 

Related resources

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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