CDC study: COVID vaccine safe for expectant moms and developing fetuses

There’s no increased risk of pre-term birth or fetal growth problems when expectant mothers receive a COVID-19 vaccination, according to a recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. And it’s prompting a Northern Virginia doctor to urge women to get their shots.

“The CDC’s most recent information shows that only about 41% of pregnant women in the United States have been fully vaccinated. I say that is way too low,” said Dr. Amy Banulis, an OB-GYN at Kaiser Permanente in Falls Church, Virginia.

“We need to get the vast, vast majority of pregnant women — if not all pregnant women — vaccinated.”

Women with symptomatic COVID-19 during pregnancy have more than a twofold increase risk of needing to be admitted to the intensive care unit, and Banulis said they have 70% increased risk of death compared with women who are not pregnant.

“And your baby is at increased risk. You have a higher risk of preterm delivery, and possibly even an increased risk of stillbirth,” Banulis said.

A woman’s COVID-19 vaccination, however, helps to protect her and offers some level of protection to infants upon birth.

“Antibodies have been detected in babies whose mother either received the vaccine during pregnancy or during breastfeeding,” she said. “What we don’t know is to what extent. How much do those antibodies protect new babies from being infected?”

Bottom line: “COVID 19 vaccines are safe and effective in pregnancy, and we have a growing body of evidence relative to the safety of the vaccine,” Banulis said.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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