HF 8201

COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

It is your choice whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This handout will review the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines to help you make an informed decision about the vaccine.

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, you are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 if you are pregnant. You are more likely to end up in the intensive care unit (ICU), on a ventilator or die than non-pregnant COVID-19 patients. Preterm birth may also be more common with severe COVID.

Risks of COVID-19 Vaccine

There is not a lot of data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. Studies are ongoing. Based on how these vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are safe during pregnancy.

Studies in animals that received the COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy found no safety concerns.

Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccines

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may prevent COVID-19 infections and severe COVID-19 disease. It can prevent COVID-19 complications such as:

  • Ending up in ICU

  • Needing to be on a ventilator

  • Death

  • Preterm birth

These vaccines have no live virus so they cannot give you COVID-19. These vaccines do not contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant people or to the fetus.

Many other vaccines are safely given in pregnancy (such as: tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and flu).

Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines

Side effects are normal. They are caused by your immune system’s normal response to the vaccine.

  • Injection site pain

  • Injection site swelling

  • Injection site redness

  • Tiredness

  • Headache

  • Muscle pain

  • Chills

  • Joint pain

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Feeling unwell

  • Swollen lymph nodes

COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant

We suggest that pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose to delay your COVID vaccine until after the first trimester. A persistent high fever during the first trimester could increase the risk of fetal complications. Take Tylenol® (acetaminophen) if you have a high fever.

COVID-19 Vaccines While Breastfeeding

We suggest that breastfeeding women receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine should not affect the safety of breastmilk. The vaccine does not contain the virus, so there is no risk of giving your baby COVID-19.

When you have an infection or get a vaccine, your body makes antibodies to fight the infection. These antibodies can pass into the breastmilk and then to the baby. This may help prevent your baby from getting COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccines While Trying to Conceive

We strongly suggest that those who are not pregnant get the COVID-19 vaccine. We also strongly suggest that you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are thinking about or trying to get pregnant. You do not need to delay pregnancy after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

When to Call

Please ask your provider about any questions you may have about the vaccine.