COVID Vaccine in Pregnancy Won’t Raise Odds for Preemie Birth

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 — Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is safe during pregnancy, experts have been saying for months.

Now, a new study adds evidence to support this advice.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 is important for preventing severe illness in pregnant women,” said study author Dr. Heather Liebkind, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.

“With rates of COVID-19 infection increasing in our community, we are encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated,” she said in a Yale University news release.

For the new study, Liebkind’s team used data from eight healthcare institutions involved in the Datalink Vaccine Safety, a project set up by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor vaccine safety. Researchers studied more than 46,000 pregnant women.

This included 10,064 individuals, or approximately 22%, who received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.

More than 98% of women who received vaccinations did so during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. About 1.7% received their vaccinations in the first trimester of pregnancy. The majority have been vaccinated with vaccines developed by Pfizer or Moderna.

The researchers found that vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy was not associated with preterm birth or children of gestational age when vaccination was compared to unvaccinated pregnant women.

Preterm birth, in which babies are born before 37 weeks and are small for gestational age, has been associated with an increased risk of infant death and disability.

The study found that the three months the vaccination was received and the number of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine received were also not associated with an increased risk of preterm birth or that the infant was small for gestational age.

Although vaccination was recommended, only 31% of pregnant women had received the vaccinations as of September. So far, research has shown that their most common concern has been a lack of information about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and potential harm to the fetus.

Meanwhile, pregnant women are considered a high-risk category in terms of the impact of COVID-19. They have an increased risk of serious illness and death and are likely to require admission to the intensive care unit, invasive ventilation, and machine-assisted blood oxygenation.

The results were reported January 4 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report. Both the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant, or may become pregnant in the future.

Resources

  • Yale University, Press Release, 4 January 2022

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