Two major reproductive health groups now recommend that pregnant people get a COVID-19 vaccine. With so much more safety data about the shots—and information about the unique COVID-19 risks that pregnant people face—it’s worth getting the shots, they say.
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released new statements recommending the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people as well as those who are breastfeeding. “ACOG strongly recommends that all eligible persons receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series,” the new guidelines say. “Obstetrician-gynecologists and other women’s healthcare practitioners should lead by example by being vaccinated and encouraging eligible patients to be vaccinated as well.”
Previously, the groups said that a vaccine “should not be withheld” from anyone because they are pregnant, but stopped short of fully recommending them for everyone due to the developing research around safety. But now that there’s more evidence from ongoing clinical trials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine safety tracking program, as well as the emergence of the highly contagious delta variant, the groups are taking a stronger stance.
“ACOG is recommending vaccination of pregnant individuals because we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals,” J. Martin Tucker, M.D., FACOG, president of ACOG, said in a press release, “because we know that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications, and because it is clear from the current vaccination rates that people need to feel confident in the safety and protective value of the COVID-19 vaccines.”
Additionally, ACOG now recommends that healthcare providers “enthusiastically recommend vaccination to their patients,” Dr. Tucker said. “This means emphasizing the known safety of the vaccines and the increased risk of severe complications associated with COVID-19 infection, including death, during pregnancy.”
Indeed, the CDC says that being pregnant makes it more likely for someone to experience severe complications of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death due to the virus. Having COVID-19 while pregnant also increases the risk for pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and pregnancy loss.
“COVID-19 vaccination is the best method to reduce maternal and fetal complications of COVID-19 infection among pregnant people,” William Grobman, M.D., MBA, president of SMFM, said in a statement. And both organizations make it clear that there is no data suggesting that getting the vaccine could negatively affect a pregnancy.
Of course, if you’re hesitant about getting the vaccine while pregnant, the best place to go for information is your healthcare provider. They’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about your personal risk factors for severe COVID-19 symptoms or possible side effects from the vaccine. As the delta variant spreads and sends us into another coronavirus wave, getting vaccinated is the best way to keep ourselves and those around us safe.