COVID-19 Vaccination: Pregnancy, Fertility, and Breastfeeding

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Pregnancy and the COVID-19 Vaccine

If you're pregnant, you should get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination (including boosters) is strongly recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. People who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. Additionally, people who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are at increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth and might be at increased risk of other pregnancy complications.

Growing evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective, and the benefits of getting a vaccine far outweigh the risks. For instance, a recent study of 40,000 pregnant people showed that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy did not increase risk of preterm birth or low birth weight.

Getting COVID-19 while you're pregnant can be dangerous. Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of being hospitalized and needing intensive care. Pregnant women with COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and might be at higher risk for other poor outcomes related to pregnancy, such as pregnancy loss.

Your infant may be protected, too. Infants of vaccinated women may also get some protection against COVID-19 because the antibodies from the vaccines can be transferred from mother to child. This means that you and your baby may both be protected against COVID-19.

Medical experts agree it’s safe for pregnant women to get vaccinated. Vaccination for those who are pregnant or wanting to become pregnant is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU).

If you’re already vaccinated, get a booster. If you are eligible for a booster or haven’t gotten your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, you should get up-to-date on your vaccinations as soon as possible.

The temporary reactions from COVID-19 vaccines are the same for both pregnant and non-pregnant women. However, if you experience fever following vaccination, take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) because fever—for any reason—has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.

If you are pregnant and have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, consult with your physician, or contact MotherToBaby, a free, confidential service with experts available to answer questions in English or Spanish. Call 1-866-626-6847 or send a message.

Check in. If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to enroll in the v-safe pregnancy registry. V-safe is the CDC’s smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after vaccination, and the v-safe pregnancy registry has been established to gather information on the health of people who are pregnant who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

A portrait of Paige Cisa, MD, holding an ultrasound photo while receiving a vaccine injection
“I definitely wanted [the vaccine] for myself, and that's one of the things that I share with my patients.” - Dr. Paige Cisa, MD, OB/GYN Resident, Duke Health.
One-page bilingual flyer about the COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility
Free download: This one-page flyer has facts about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility. (PDF, English/Spanish)

Fertility and the COVID-19 Vaccine

The vaccines do not impact your ability to get pregnant. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men. However, it is possible that getting COVID-19 can make it harder to get pregnant. There is no need to wait or avoid pregnancy after being vaccinated.

It’s true for fathers, too. The Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU) recommends that men who want to be fathers should be encouraged to get vaccinated. In fact, recent studies have shown that getting infected with COVID-19 increases the risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) by nearly six times.

Breastfeeding and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are breastfeeding. In addition, everyone who is age 18 and older, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future, should get a booster shot.

The vaccines can’t give COVID-19 to you or the baby. COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause COVID-19 infection in anyone, including a breastfeeding or pregnant mother or the baby, and vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding.

The vaccines produce antibodies in breastmilk. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data are needed to determine what level of protection these antibodies may provide to the baby.

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Find a vaccine location near you

If you have more questions, we encourage you to read our Frequently Asked Questions, call the NC COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at 888-675-4567, or send us a message.