Explained: Is COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women?

Pregnant Women Vaccination
Is COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women? : Pregnant women are considered to be more vulnerable to the novel Coronavirus. Though growing vaccination rates have been effective in slowing down the spread of the virus, elderlies, pregnant women and children think it to be risky for them.
Naturally, in these unprecedented times women who are expecting a baby or are planning for one are doubtful about the effect of the vaccine on their health. They are also sceptical about malformation in the unborn foetus.

Is COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women?

SheThePeople spoke with gynaecologist Dr. Sudeshna Ray regarding this issue. She said, “Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 associated illness compared to non pregnant women and are considered as a high risk group. The risk of hospitalisation, Intensive care Unit admission, mechanical ventilation and even death is slightly increased in pregnant women. Thus, preventing COVID-19 infection is paramount of paramount importance for both the mother and her unborn baby.”

She added, “However, since the clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines specifically on pregnant women has been still going on, the data available to us is limited. Animal studies have been reassuring and don’t show any detrimental effects on the mother or the baby.”

Dr. Ray further said that the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF OBSTERICS AND GYNECOLOGY (FIGO) considers that there are no risks-actual or theoretical- that would outweigh the potential benefits of vaccination for pregnant women. FIGO supports offering COVID-19 vaccination to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Can COVID-19 vaccine cause malformation in the foetus?

The vaccine does not involve any risk of miscarriage, malformation, preterm delivery, embryonic or congenital anomalies. There is also no risk regarding the growth or development of the foetus. If a woman is doubtful, she can postpone her vaccination by the 12th week of gestation or to the third or fourth month of pregnancy. There is no evidence of the vaccine causing any sort of defect in the baby. So in case a woman gets vaccinated without being aware that she is carrying a child, she need not terminate the pregnancy. Dr. Ray confirmed that neither COVID -19 infection nor vaccination has been observed to cause any malformation in an unborn baby.

Lactating mothers too must take the vaccine to protect themselves and their baby. Protective antibodies produced by the vaccine can pass through the mother’s milk to the newborn baby and provide it with extra protection.

Does COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

No, COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility. Women planning to have a baby can take the vaccine before they plan their pregnancy. Their is absolutely no connection between vaccine and infertility. Women can take the vaccine before planning to have a baby.

Dr. Ray said that there has been no evidence of the vaccine causing any fertility disorder. She added that a small study showed a very minor temporary damage to the sperm quality following COVID-19 infection. But so far, there has been no evidence regarding COVID-19 vaccine affecting the fertility of a woman.