Posted Mar 23, 2020 (updated 10.28.21)
Data have shown that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications and even death. There has been a significant increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. Recent data have shown that more than 95% of those who are hospitalized and/or dying from COVID-19 are those who have remained unvaccinated.
Compared with those who aren’t pregnant, COVID-19-infected pregnant people are:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. UCLA Health also stands by this statement from the ACOG and SMFM regarding existing data and in response to the CDC health advisory. Ultimately, it’s a decision that is best made in collaboration with a health care professional who knows your personal medical history.
Studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against the Delta variant. Decreased protection as time passes and the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant prompted the CDC to evaluate and now recommend obtaining a booster dose for certain populations 6 months after their initial vaccination. Pregnancy and those recently pregnant (42 days after delivery) are among the high-risk groups that qualify for a booster. This applies for those who received Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. You may obtain your original vaccine or a booster that differs (mix and match) from the vaccine originally used to immunize yourself against COVID-19. We understand that information regarding COVID-19 changes over time and therefore recommend that you speak with your health care professional if you have any questions. Please see CDC recommendations here.
A vaccine can help protect you from getting COVID-19 with roughly 95% efficacy. You must get both doses of the vaccine for it to be fully effective. In addition, when pregnant people receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, their bodies build antibodies against COVID-19, similar to non-pregnant people. Antibodies made after a pregnant person received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine have been found in umbilical cord blood. This means COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy might help protect babies against COVID-19. At this time, vaccinated people still need to wear masks and practice hand washing hygiene and social distancing.
COVID-19 vaccination is the best method to reduce maternal and fetal complications of COVID-19 infection among pregnant people. ACOG is recommending vaccination of pregnant individuals because there is evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals. Additional clinical trials that study the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and how well they work in pregnant people are underway or planned. Vaccine manufacturers are also collecting and reviewing data from people in the completed clinical trials who received a vaccine and became pregnant.
If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other federal partners, will monitor you for serious side effects using existing vaccine safety monitoring systems. You can participate in this effort by enrolling here. This program will check in daily for one week following your vaccination. You can also report any side effects or concerns you might have.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are breastfeeding. COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and the vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. You do not have to delay or stop breastfeeding just because you get a vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners. There is no reason that individuals who are trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatment should withhold from receiving a vaccine. Since these are not live vaccines, there is no reason to delay trying to get pregnant or delaying fertility treatment because of your vaccination schedule.
Side effects after vaccination are mild and often produce a normal bodily response to the vaccine and the development of antibodies to protect against the disease. Side effects often occur in the first few days after receiving a vaccine, and that is true for both the first and second dose. If pregnant people experience fever after vaccination, acetaminophen is recommended.
These three sites contain trusted, evidence-based, curated information for pregnant and lactating individuals:
If you are currently pregnant and under the care of a UCLA obstetrician or planning to deliver your baby at Reagan Medical Center in Westwood or UCLA Santa Monica, the health of you and your baby is our top priority. Given the concerns about the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), UCLA Health has implemented safety guidelines. Here’s what you need to know:
We want to assure you that UCLA Health has rigorous infection-prevention protocols. Our infectious disease specialists are highly trained and in continuous contact with local, state and federal public health officials to closely monitor developments. The safety of our patients, staff, faculty, students, trainees, and the general public remains our top priority.
As you know, 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. UCLA clinics are open for all regularly scheduled visits and are following rigorous infection-prevention protocols to ensure your safety. Please talk to your physician or midwife and follow their instructions regarding timing of visits, mask policy, and visitor policy.
Yes. Given UCLA Health’s rigorous infection-prevention protocols, we believe that it is very safe for you to deliver your baby at UCLA-affiliated hospitals.
Based on the CDC recommendations, please do not come to Labor and Delivery, the hospital, or the outpatient clinic setting without calling your provider first to determine if a face-to-face evaluation is needed. We have highly trained Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists who can assess your clinical needs, advise you on possible therapeutics, and direct you to the appropriate clinical setting.
Any patient with fever and respiratory symptoms, regardless of travel history, will be provided a mask to wear, be placed in their own room promptly, and evaluated by essential health care providers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Throughout labor and delivery, you will be asked to wear a surgical mask at the time of delivery to decrease potential exposure of the newborn, healthcare personnel, and other labor and delivery patients to infection. For more information, please visit the UCLA Health COVID-19 Information Hub >
The UCLA Health Obstetrics visitor guidelines were updated on 9/17/21 to allow for 1 support person for an antepartum or a postpartum patient and 2 support persons for a labor and delivery patient. All visitors for OB hospitalized patients will be expected to register with the security/greeter station when entering the hospital and screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Visitors must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the prior 72 hours and wear a face covering. At UCLA Health, we practice universal masking. It is expected that the visitor will keep their face covered during the duration of their visit. PPE is required at all times for visitors regardless of vaccination and testing status. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the UCLA Health COVID-19 Visitor Guidelines >
If you have confirmed or probable COVID-19, you will likely be moved during the postpartum period to a negative pressure room to prevent potential spread of infection. If you have suspected COVID-19, you will be in a routine postpartum room with the door closed. Transmission of COVID-19 after birth via contact with infectious respiratory secretions remains a concern, but we do not separate you and your baby after birth. If you have confirmed COVID-19, we ask that you wear a mask and practice hand hygiene prior to each interaction with your newborn.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by you in coordination with your family and healthcare providers. To date, the virus has not been detected in samples of breastmilk. If you and your newborn baby are rooming-in and you wish to feed your baby at the breast, you will be asked to wear a new surgical mask and practice hand hygiene before each feeding. If you do not wish to directly breastfeed your newborn, we encourage you to express your breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply. A dedicated breast pump will be provided. Prior to expressing breast milk, you should practice hand hygiene. If possible, consider having a healthy person feed the expressed breast milk to your baby.
Thank you for choosing UCLA Health for your health care needs. We are committed to protecting your safety while maintaining high-quality care at our hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica and our clinics across the region.