COVID-19 infection can occur in pregnant individuals. While the majority of pregnant individuals who acquire COVID-19 will experience a mild respiratory illness, in wave 3 of COVID-19, approximately 20 per cent of pregnant individuals with COVID-19 developed a moderate to severe form of the disease including pneumonia, respiratory distress requiring hospitalization and possible respiratory failure needing admission to the intensive care unit.
COVID-19 infection in any patient can be life threatening illness – pregnant individuals are at risk.
COVID-19 infection in pregnancy has been linked with increased rates of preterm birth, low birth weight babies, stillbirth, blood pressure problems and chance of Caesarean section.
Should pregnant individuals and individuals planning pregnancy take the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, pregnant individuals and individuals planning pregnancy are recommended to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The Society of Obstetricians and Obstetricians of Canada supports the use of all COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada in any trimester of pregnancy and during breastfeeding provided no contraindication.”
Pregnancy, pregnancy planning or fertility treatment are NOT considered an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination. Contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine (medical reason to not take the vaccine) would be a documented allergic reaction to PEG (the liquid portion of the vaccine) or a documented allergic reaction or documented myositis reaction to the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (e.g. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) contain a biologic message that when injected into the muscle where it is absorbed will trigger your immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies will bind the coronavirus preventing you from getting sick and also spreading the virus to other individuals. If you do acquire a COVID-19 infection despite the vaccine, the infection and symptoms will be mild.
The vaccine DOES NOT enter your blood steam or cross the placenta to the baby. The baby is NOT exposed to the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to more than 155,000 pregnant individuals in the USA. A registry has tracked their pregnancies and determined no harmful effects for moms and babies.
Antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine have been detected in breastmilk and will be protective for baby. We see a similar protective effect from other recommended vaccines in pregnancy (Tdap, Flu) and one of the many advantages of breastfeeding is your immunity shared with baby through breast milk.
Updated September 15, 2021
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine:
For information regarding Fertility and COVID-19 please visit: https://cfas.ca/CFAS_Communication_on_COVID-19.html
For more information on COVID-19 and Pregnancy please visit: https://www.sinaihealth.ca/covid19/covid-19-and-pregnancy/
Register for a free ZOOM interactive teaching session: https://app.bookking.ca/mtsinaipub/courses/index.asp
For more COVID-19 information and resources visit https://www.sinaihealth.ca/covid19/