By the We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education Campaign
Health information can be overwhelming when you first become pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant. On top of dietary restrictions, medication considerations, and overall health management, these days there is the added question about how to protect yourself and your baby against COVID-19. Luckily, the evidence is clear that COVID vaccines provide the best protection against the worst outcomes of the disease.
“One of the best ways to reduce your risks from COVID when pregnant is by getting a COVID vaccine,” said Yuch-Hsun (Thomas) Lu, PharmD, RPh. “COVID vaccines protect you from becoming very sick from the disease. This is great news because keeping you as healthy as possible during pregnancy is important for you and your baby.”
If you are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or breastfeeding, here’s what you should know:
COVID vaccines are safe and effective for pregnant people and those who are breastfeeding. As with anyone over the age of six months, it is recommended that people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future, all get a COVID vaccine. Doing so reduces the risk of severe illness and other health effects from the virus for people, including those who are pregnant. And there is no evidence that any vaccine, including the COVID vaccine, causes fertility problems.
A free COVID vaccine can help protect you and your baby. If you have COVID while pregnant, you are at increased risk of complications that can affect your pregnancy and the developing baby. Yet, getting a free COVID vaccine during pregnancy helps protect you from serious illness and can protect your baby as well. In fact, studies show that babies whose mothers were vaccinated against COVID during pregnancy were less likely to get COVID in their first six months of life.
It’s important to reduce your risk of catching COVID when pregnant. Although the overall risks are low, if you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get very sick from COVID compared to people who are not pregnant. Fortunately, the vaccine can help protect you from serious illness.
You can also take simple steps to help avoid the illness such as limiting your in-person interactions with people who might have been exposed to COVID as much as possible, and wearing a well-fitted mask, especially near crowds or in poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Finally, you should wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
Attend your health care appointments during and after pregnancy to stay healthy. It is important to visit your health care provider for all your recommended appointments while pregnant. Going to these appointments helps maintain your and your baby’s overall wellness because your health care provider can answer your questions, provide guidance, and support you in receiving all recommended vaccines, including your COVID vaccine.
To learn more about protecting yourself against COVID or to find a vaccine, visit www.vaccines.gov.