ATLANTA — Questions are coming up about whether it's safe for pregnant women to get a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at an increased risk for complications from the virus.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are not excluded from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine but there are lingering questions about whether they should get one since the group is and was not included in clinical trials.
11Alive medical correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy said it is important for pregnant and breastfeeding women to have a conversation with their physicians before making the decision to vaccinate.
"The data we do have is in people who receive the vaccine and may not have known that they were pregnant, and so far with that small amount of data, the vaccine seems okay," said Dr. Reddy.
She said every case is different and there is limited information right now about the vaccine effects on pregnant women.
"I think it's going to depend on your pregnancy, your risks, and other healthcare issues you may or may not have," she explained. "Are you thinking about getting pregnant or are you pregnant? The other category is if you are breastfeeding."
According to the CDC, pregnant women have a higher risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 and are more likely to be placed on a ventilator, compared to those who are not pregnant.
"What we've seen with pregnant women when it comes to COVID-19, the good news is there doesn't seem to be any effect on the baby or the delivery," she said. "The baby seems fine but because pregnant women's immune system is suppressed, viral infections that could be routine could be more severe."
While most pregnant women are not eligible, Dr. Reddy is already having these conversations with her patients whose jobs may allow them to receive the vaccine in this phase of the rollout.
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"What I've been telling my patients is this: if you're trying and you're in a high-risk situation, perhaps a frontline healthcare worker, I would get the vaccine," added Dr. Reddy.
While the CDC said vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding women is a personal decision, organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support vaccine use in those groups.