Even during the pandemic, it’s still possible to have a normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Read on to learn more about things to consider and COVID-19 vaccines before and during pregnancy.
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might be pregnant in the future. The CDC strongly recommends a COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks. Studies have confirmed that the vaccine is safe in all stages of pregnancy and does not cause fertility problems.
As of September 2021, there have been more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in people who are pregnant (including those who are lactating). According to data from the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), 97% of hospitalized pregnant people with confirmed COVID-19 infections were unvaccinated.
If You’re Not Yet Pregnant, But Want to Be
If you and your partner stay healthy, COVID-19 itself will not affect your ability to conceive. Staying healthy during the pandemic includes taking precautions such as wearing a mask when appropriate and washing your hands frequently.
COVID-19 hasn’t just made an impact on health, it has badly damaged our economy, jeopardized funding for public programs, had a significant impact on our health care system, and profoundly affected almost every part of life in this country. Other facts to consider:
- Once you are pregnant, you will have to see the doctor regularly to protect your health and the health of your baby. Although some of these visits can be done with a telehealth screening, many of these visits will have to be in-person. AltaMed and other health facilities are taking precautions to keep patients and staff safe, but it is impossible to eliminate every risk.
- The costs of trying to get pregnant, receiving prenatal care, delivery, and follow-up care can add up. If your job or your health insurance aren’t secure, it may be tough to cover the expenses.
- As Los Angeles struggles with coronavirus and asks people to avoid unnecessary trips, you may find yourself with less in-person support from friends and family. And, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or already have a baby, mixing with people outside of your household could potentially expose you to COVID-19.
No matter what’s happening in the world, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your doctor and your partner before attempting to become pregnant. None of this information is a substitute for those conversations, just information to consider.
If You’re Already Pregnant, There are Risks, But They’re Low
Congratulations if you’re expecting. If you stay healthy, coronavirus probably won’t jeopardize your pregnancy or your baby. Even if you do get coronavirus, the risk of transmitting it to your baby is very low. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many high-quality scientific studies to shed light on all of the potential risks.
However, if you do contract coronavirus and develop serious symptoms, this may increase your risks for pregnancy complications, including pre-term birth. More intensive research is needed to confirm, but scientists also believe that simply being pregnant can make you vulnerable to more severe cases of COVID-19.
All the precautions for people who want to become pregnant apply here, too. Even though you will likely be at home, caring for your infant for some time, professional child-care could be a big question mark. Even asking your closest relatives for help could expose you and your baby to COVID-19 risks unless they are already living in your household.
Still Not Sure? Talk to Your Doctor
Even if you already have children, the decision to get pregnant can change your life and your family, and that’s especially true now. Talk to your doctor. Having an informed medical opinion about your unique health history and risks, as well as the current state of COVID-19, may help you make up your mind. And if you are already pregnant, rest assured knowing that AltaMed is here for all your prenatal care needs.
Doctors and public health officials urge everyone, including those who are pregnant or wish to be, to get their flu shots early this year. Schedule an appointment to get your immunizations today. Flu shots are safe for pregnant woman and their babies, no matter what trimester. It’s one more way to protect yourself and your entire family.