Messenger RNA COVID vaccines likely safe for pregnant women, study says

Many pregnant women have taken the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines even though this group wasn’t included in the initial clinical trials.

Now a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals just how safe these vaccines are for expectant moms and their newborns.

Just after Christmas, 36-year-old UCLA Hematology and Oncology nurse Courtney Dyke was 11 weeks pregnant. She had to make a tough decision. Should she take the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine?

“I was hesitant and nervous,” she said.

Dyke also has a congenital heart defect. Pregnant women were excluded from the large Phase 3 clinical trials so the research on pregnant women and Covid-19 vaccines was limited. But Dyke knew getting Covid-19 would be much worse.

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She said, “The data isn’t great as far as Covid complications for you or your baby. And so I kind of put my trust in medicine.”

Dr. Ilina Pluym is an OB-GYN at UCLA. She said, “Pregnant women are concerned about everything in pregnancy, especially vaccinations. But, most women after having a careful discussion weighing the risks and benefits have agreed to getting it.”

Now, a new real world analysis shows mRNA vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer are likely safe for pregnant women and their newborns. This data on more than 35-thousand pregnant women should offer reassurance
“The risks of miscarriages, preterm delivery or small growth of the baby was no different than the baseline risk of all pregnant women,” Pluym said.

Overall, the study showed pregnant women did quite well with side effects.

Pregnant women had slightly higher pain at the injection site, but actually fewer headaches, fevers and myalgia compared to non-pregnant counterparts,” Pluym said.

Dyke and her husband Chris are expecting a boy in July. She’s glad she got the vaccine and she advises other pregnant women to carefully go over the pros and cons with their doctor.

She said, “Nobody knows exactly what is going on with you, your pregnancy and your risks other than your doctor and you guys should have an open conversation.”

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