Should Pregnant, Breastfeeding Moms Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are now strongly advised to take the COVID-19 shots by authorities. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its vaccination guidance to indicate that pregnant and recently pregnant women should get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus to prevent “severe illness, hospitalizations and death.”

According to the national public health agency, pregnant women are very likely to get severely ill once infected with COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women. The vaccine can provide protection to those who are carrying babies in their wombs and those who have recently given birth to their offspring. 

The severe manifestation of the disease requires hospitalization and intensive care. When symptoms worsen, patients may need to use a ventilator or special equipment to help them breathe. Death is also a possibility at this point. 

The CDC pointed out in its updated guidance that women who are still pregnant with their babies are at a higher risk of preterm birth. They are also at risk of suffering other adverse pregnancy outcomes. 

Though the CDC is strongly urging pregnant moms to get vaccinated, the agency is a bit skeptical about recommending the jabs to breastfeeding moms since it does not have access to studies that were able to determine the vaccines’ effects on lactating people. 

The government agency clearly stated on its website that it still lacks data on the “safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people, effects of vaccination on the breastfed baby [and] effects on milk production or excretion.” 

Despite the lack of scientific data, the CDC said that lactating moms can receive a COVID-19 vaccine because there have been reports about babies benefiting from the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines administered to their moms. 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has voiced the same sentiment, as it is also strongly recommending all eligible women to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. 

ACOG said it has enough data to establish the safety profile of the authorized vaccines used in providing protection to pregnant women in any trimester. The professional association released its recommendation after noticing the low vaccination rates and the disturbing increase in transmissions at present. 

Meanwhile, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) issued a statement last week to encourage breastfeeding moms to get vaccinated as soon as possible. According to the not-for-profit organization, “numerous studies of vaccinated moms” showed that antibodies were passed to babies through the umbilical cord and their mothers’ breastmilk. 

SMFM also noted in its statement that there is no reason for lactating moms to delay or stop breastfeeding once they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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