Pregnancy & COVID-19
Pregnancy & COVID-19
Yes. In general, pregnant women are at higher risk for developing complications from some viral respiratory infections because their immune defenses are lowered during pregnancy. When it comes to COVID-19:
- Pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women.
- Pregnant women with COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth and other poor pregnancy outcomes.
The good news is that if you’re pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Please talk to your doctor to discuss at get more information.
Yes. Prenatal visits occur every four weeks in the first and second trimester, every two weeks until 36 weeks and then weekly until birth. We usually check your blood pressure, monitor your weight and check baby’s heart rate at every visit. Given the pandemic of COVID-19, we may modify the schedule and reduce the frequency of these visits based on essential pregnancy testing and indicated medical care during testing. Please talk to your physician or midwife and follow their instructions.
COVID-19 vaccination is still recommended for all people 6 months and older, including people who are pregnant, lactating, trying to get pregnant now, or planning to become pregnant in the future. The updated booster is produced in the same way that the original vaccines and boosters were, but have been modified to have your body also produce protection (antibodies) against the newer strains of COVID-19 that have emerged since those original vaccines were created. There is no additional risk to these updated boosters, and no increase in side effects or complications have been reported since they were introduced.
These updated boosters are entirely comparable to when the influenza vaccine is updated every year to match that year’s most likely flu strains circulating in the community. That process, just like updating the COVID-19 vaccine, only allows the vaccine to be as targeted and protective as possible against the virus types currently causing infections. Right now, the updated COVID-19 boosters produce protection against both the original strains of the virus, as well as the newer Omicron strains.
Right now, if you have received the original vaccine series (1 or 2 doses, depending on the vaccine), as well as 2 follow-up booster shots, you should receive the current updated boosted if at least 2 months have passed since your last booster. If you haven’t received any vaccines yet, you should still start with the 2-dose starter series. If you’ve recently had a COVID-19 infection, you can wait 2-3 months before getting a booster. This waiting period has been shown in recent studies to let the boosters work optimally, and for your immune system to respond as strongly as it can to them.
As for the original COVID booster shots, there is no reason to consider requesting a medical exemption due to being pregnant or breastfeeding alone. These vaccines are as safe as the original boosters were, while being more targeted and effective. Medical exemptions for the COVID booster follow the same guidelines for pregnant and non-pregnant persons. For current contraindications and precautions to the COVID vaccine, see CDC guidelines here.