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COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy What you need to know

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is everyone’s best bet at protecting themselves and those around them from the virus. But if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, you may have some questions about how the vaccine could affect you, or when you should get it.

While there is plenty of misleading information around COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy circulating, pharmacist Catherine Yee from Capital Chemist Bowral says the clear message is that if you’re pregnant, you should get vaccinated as soon as you can.

In fact, you have even more reason than the average person. Research has shown that pregnant women and their unborn children are at a higher risk of the effects of COVID-19.

“In real world studies, they found a five times higher risk of needing to go to hospital if you caught COVID-19 infection while you're pregnant, two to three times higher of needing admission to intensive care, and three times higher of needing ventilation than if you were not pregnant. So that is why vaccination in pregnancy is recommended,” says Catherine.

“There can also be complications for your newborn if you catch COVID-19 while pregnant. Your child is one-and-a-half times more likely to be born prematurely, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and three times more likely to need admission to hospital. So the best way to prevent all of that absolutely, is to get vaccinated.”

“Research has also shown evidence that the antibodies from the vaccination pass through the membrane and through breast milk to help protect your baby even more.”

While information has spread around the COVID-19 vaccine altering fertility, affecting menstrual cycles or even leading to complications in pregnancy, but Catherine says research worldwide shows otherwise.

“There are lots of rumours on the Internet, but they are not supported by evidence,” says Catherine.

“There was a big study in the US of over 35,000 pregnant women who were vaccinated. Any side effects reported were similar in the pregnant people to those who weren’t pregnant, and there were normal rates of pregnancy. Studies have not found any increase in pregnancy complications in those who are vaccinated, and the pregnancy rate is not decreasing in women of childbearing age who have had the vaccines, so there's just no evidence of it.”

The best time to get vaccinated is whenever you’re able to get an appointment at any stage of pregnancy, whether you’re planning for a baby, trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding.

In Australia, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women. While Pfizer is not available through Capital Chemist, Moderna will soon be available in the pharmacy, with supplies expected to arrive in late September/early October.

As a Mum herself, Catherine says she understands that pregnant or breastfeeding women may have concerns around the COVID-19 vaccine, but to chat to your local pharmacist, GP, obstetrician or midwife if you have any questions or want to discuss your options further.

"When you are pregnant, you have this heightened sense of not wanting to put anything into your body that’s not natural and there can be that extra layer of, ‘I just want to protect my baby’. But by having the vaccine, you are protecting your baby,” she says.

You may also be interested in the following:

4 Reasons to get the flu vaccination this year


  
 

Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.