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Pregnancy, COVID-19 & Vaccination

At WakeMed, we encourage COVID-19 vaccination among those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who plan to become pregnant. Contracting COVID-19 while you are pregnant puts you at increased risk for severe illness, death and adverse pregnancy outcomes, including premature birth and stillbirth. Despite this fact, COVID-19 vaccinations among those who are pregnant remain concerningly low.

We urge you to take measures to safeguard your health and the health of your unborn child by getting vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, severe illness and death. 

Below, find answers to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination as explained by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):

Is Vaccination Safe During Pregnancy?

Vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective. A growing body of evidence confirms that COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy. Scientists have compared the pregnancies of those who have received COVID-19 vaccines versus those who have not. The reports show that they have had similar pregnancy outcomes. No safety concerns were noted in the data.

Is Breastfeeding Safe After Vaccination?

ACOG recommends that breastfeeding women receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stop breastfeeding if you want to receive the vaccine. When you are vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body may be passed through breastmilk and may help protect your child from the virus.

Should I Choose One Vaccine Over Another During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may choose any vaccine that is available to you. 

Do I Need a Booster Shot?

Over time, protection from a vaccine may decline. A booster dose improves your body’s ability to protect you. The need for a booster dose depends on which COVID-19 vaccine you received and your risk of getting very sick from the virus.

If you need a booster dose, you may choose any COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need to choose the same vaccine that you originally received.

Johnson & Johnson — Everyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster dose at least two months after their first dose. This includes those who are pregnant or those who have recently become pregnant.

Pfizer and Moderna — If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago, you may need a booster dose:

  • ACOG recommends you receive a booster dose if you are pregnant or up to six weeks postpartum, and you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago.

You may receive a booster dose at any time during pregnancy. If you were originally vaccinated before pregnancy and you are now pregnant, you should still get a booster.

I've Heard Rumors about the Dangers of the Vaccine? What is the Truth?

COVID-19 vaccines work differently, and all are proven safe. Here's what's important to know:

  • There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility. ACOG recommends vaccination for anyone who may consider getting pregnant in the future.
  • The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19. None of the vaccines use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The vaccines do not affect your genes or DNA.

If I Contract COVID-19, How Can I Avoid Passing COVID-19 to My Baby after Delivery?

While you are in the hospital and after you go home, you should take the following steps to avoid passing the infection to your baby:

  • Use a face mask or covering when holding your baby, including during feedings. Do not put a mask or covering over the baby’s face.
  • Wash your hands before touching your baby. 
  • Wash your hands before touching any breast pump or bottle parts and clean all pump and bottle parts after use. 
  • If possible, let someone who is healthy help care for your newborn. This person can bottle-feed your breast milk to your baby after you pump. Any friends or loved ones who step in to help should wear a mask, keep their hands clean and preferably not be at risk for severe illness should they contract COVID-19.

I have other specific concerns. Who should I contact?

Talk to your OB-GYN or primary care provider if you have additional questions.