COVID-19 and Pregnancy

The Pima County Health Department, in partnership with Tucson Medical Center, hosted an online town hall on Feb. 2, 2022, about healthy pregnancy, COVID-19, and vaccine safety.

A panel of new parents and health experts addressed concerns about getting vaccinated during pregnancy, while trying to get pregnant, or recently delivered.

Healthy pregnancy and COVID-19: What you need to know

Panelists for English-language town hall

Moderator: Tim Bentley (TMC)
OBGYN & Hospital Rep: Dr. Gayle Dean (TMC)
Pediatric Practitioner: Dr. Erica Laber (TMC)
Public Health Nurse: Karen Jones, PHN (PCHD)
Midwife/Doula: Rebecca Rivera, Midwife, (MHC)
New/soon-to-be parents and community members: Mayra Jeffery (PCHD) & Kathryn Teyechea (TMC) 
School representative: Jessica Leonard (Butterfield Elementary)

Cronkite News: Experts increasing calls for pregnant people to get vaccinated

Addressing vaccine hesitancy

Watch this video with Spanish subtitles


Endorsement letter

Local medical professionals who are committed to the health and safety of you, your babies and future generations, have signed an endorsement letter that encourage COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant, nursing, were recently pregnant, and those planning a pregnancy.

Worried about COVID-19 and pregnancy?

People who are pregnant or recently pregnant are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to people who are not pregnant.

People who have COVID-19 during pregnancy have increased risk for preterm birth and stillbirth. They may also have increased risk for other pregnancy complications.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, were recently pregnant, or may become pregnant in the future.

FAQs

UPDATED FEB. 22, 2022: Do the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause a loss of fertility in women or men. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners. Many people have successfully become pregnant after COVID-19 vaccination. The v-safe pregnancy registry reported almost 5,000 people had a positive pregnancy test after having received a first dose of vaccine.
 
The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the most carefully and closely studied vaccines in history, with extensive, ongoing safety monitoring systems. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Would Like to Have a Baby.

UPDATED JAN. 10, 2022: Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

The CDC recommends getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, were recently pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you are or recently were pregnant, you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Severe illness can mean you may need hospitalization, intensive care or a ventilator, and that you could die. COVID-19 infection also increases your risk for preterm birth, stillbirth, and other pregnancy complications.
 
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective during pregnancy, and the protective benefits they offer both the mother and fetus/infant outweigh any known or potential risks. Getting vaccinated during your pregnancy builds antibodies that may protect your baby against COVID-19. Antibodies are passed to the fetus through umbilical cord blood, and through breast milk if you breastfeed. Find out more from the CDC about COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends vaccination for people who are pregnant. If you would like to talk to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during your pregnancy, MotherToBaby is a free, confidential service offering experts who can answer your questions in English or Spanish via telephone or chat. Your healthcare provider can also provide additional guidance.

What should I do if I get COVID-19 while pregnant or nursing?

If you get COVID-19 symptoms or test positive during pregnancy or while nursing, you should contact your healthcare provider and follow the recommendations for what to do if you are sick. If possible, someone who is up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines and not at high risk for severe illness should care for your newborn until your isolation period has ended.
 
If no caregiver is available, you should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your newborn, and wear a mask whenever you are within 6 feet of them. After your isolation period is over, you should continue to wear a mask until day 10, and wash your hands before touching your baby. Your healthcare provider can offer additional guidance on how long you should isolate, and any extra precautions you may need to take.
 
You should monitor your baby for COVID-19 symptoms including:
  • Fever (100.4 or higher is an emergency)
  • Being overly tired or less active
  • Cough
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Working harder to breathe, or more shallow breathing
  • Poor feeding
Babies are unlikely to get COVID-19 through breast milk. If you have COVID-19, you should wear a mask and wash your hands before nursing or expressing breast milk.
 
The CDC offers detailed recommendations and precautions for caregivers and parents on caring for newborns and nursing when you have COVID-19, and guidance for those who are or recently were pregnant.

How is COVID-19 prevented?

The best way to prevent severe illness is to ensure you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines, similar to flu shots or routine childhood vaccinations.

Continue wearing a mask in indoor public settings when six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained, and consider wearing a mask outdoors when in sustained close contact with others.

N95, KN95, and KF94 masks offer the best protection. Surgical masks provide the next-best protection. Cloth masks should be worn with a disposable surgical mask if possible.

Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, stay 6 feet apart from those outside your household, and wash your hands often.

COVID-19 vaccines safely protect pregnant people: the data are in (Nature, 1/12/22)
The data show that the risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy — including maternal death, stillbirth and premature delivery — far outweigh the risks of being vaccinated.

Receipt of COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy and Preterm or Small-for-Gestational-Age at Birth (MMWR, 1/7/22)

The CDC reports that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy was not associated with preterm birth or small-for-gestational-age at birth overall. The trimester in which the vaccination was received, and the number of doses received did not increase these risks. These data support the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future.

Unvaccinated pregnant people are at higher risk for COVID complications, newborn deaths (PBS News Hour, 1/14/22)

Study out of Scotland shows that unvaccinated pregnant people who get COVID-19 are at much higher risk for complications from the disease and death of their babies than their vaccinated counterparts.

National Institutes of Health

How COVID-19 Affects Pregnancy

CDC

Ask an Expert

Mother-to-Baby

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