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CDPH recommends that all persons, including those that are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, get vaccinated and boosted, when eligible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for all people 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
The guidance below is intended to answer many of the questions you may have if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, including the importance of vaccines to yourself and your child. You can also talk to your healthcare provider to help you in your decision whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes, all evidence to date indicates that COVID-19 vaccination before, during and after pregnancy is safe and effective.
Pregnant and lactating people should choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to protect them and may consider discussing vaccination with their usual healthcare provider. For more information on COVID-19 Vaccines, refer to the Vaccines for COVID-19 | CDC.
People who are pregnant should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot either five months after a two-dose Moderna or Pfizer series or two months after a dose of Johnson & Johnson. If you received a Johnson & Johnson dose, strongly consider getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot. These vaccines use a small, harmless piece of the virus that triggers an immune response but cannot make you sick. If you are exposed to COVID-19 after vaccination, your immune system will be able to recognize the virus and make antibodies to help protect you and your baby against COVID-19.
Yes, the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for pregnant people because of the protection they provide against COVID-19. The vaccine works by triggering an immune response in the body, causing the body to produce protective antibodies, which also are passed to their baby in the womb, so the baby is born with some protection from day one.
It is both safe and recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. When people receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, their bodies build antibodies against COVID-19. These antibodies have been found in umbilical cord blood, which means that vaccination during pregnancy protects babies against COVID-19 as well.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe for you and your baby. The vaccines provided in the U.S. do not use live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot infect you or your baby with COVID-19, and in fact COVID-19 vaccines help safely protect pregnant people and their babies against COVID-19.
You may have other health conditions in addition to pregnancy that put you at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. You may wish to consult with your healthcare provider if you have additional concerns regarding the decision whether to get vaccinated.
If you are pregnant, you are at higher risk for severe COVID-19. Pregnant or recently pregnant people (within 42 days postpartum) are at higher risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, including the risk of being hospitalized, being in the intensive care unit (ICU) or having to use a ventilator or special equipment to breathe compared to people who are not pregnant and get sick with COVID-19. Pregnant people with COVID-19 infection are also at increased risk of pre-term birth (delivering a baby before 37 weeks).
It is important that you protect yourself against COVID-19 by taking the actions below:
Take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy and after delivery by taking the actions below:
Call your health care provider if you have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle aches, sore throat or loss of sense of smell or taste, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. Get tested right away if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated and follow the recommendations in the CDPH Isolation and Quarantine guidance if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
While much is still unknown about the risks of COVID-19 to babies, we do know that babies born to people who got COVID-19 during pregnancy usually do not have COVID-19.
Nevertheless, some newborns have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after birth. It is unknown if these newborns got the virus before, during or after birth. Most newborns who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. However, there are rare reports of newborns with severe COVID-19 illness. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and are preparing to give birth, talk to your healthcare provider. Follow their recommendations on how best to protect your baby.
The good news is that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy helps the body develop antibody protection that is passed on to the developing baby so the newborn baby has some protection at birth. While COVID-19 infection in pregnant women has shown to increase the risk of miscarriage and preterm birth, the COVID-19 vaccine can also offer protection to decrease this risk.
There are many benefits of having early and close contact between you and your baby. The ideal setting for care of a healthy, full-term newborn while in the hospital is in your room. Parents who room-in with their babies can more easily learn and respond to their babies' feeding cues, which helps with breastfeeding. The risk of a baby catching COVID-19 from their parent is low. There is usually no difference in risk of COVID-19 for the baby whether a baby is cared for in a separate room or stays in the parent's room.
If you think you may have COVID-19 or know you have it, you will need to take steps to help protect your baby while rooming-in together. Steps include:
When the parent or the baby is very ill, temporary separation may be considered. Temporary separation should be a shared decision between parents, family, and the health care provider. For more information, visit Breastfeeding and Caring for Newborns if you have COVID-19.
People can have COVID-19 and spread the disease even before they have any symptoms. Only vaccinated individuals or those living in the newborn's household should be near or taking care of the baby. Consider asking visitors to test for COVID-19 right before visiting.
I am pregnant and I do not feel safe continuing to work. What can I do?
Talk about your concerns with your employer:
For more information, visit the following webpages:
California COVID-19 Vaccines, COVID-19 and Pregnancy (CDC), and COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding (CDC).
Originally Published on May 21, 2021