With a lot of information circulating around the COVID-19 vaccination and the impacts, it can be difficult to decipher fact from fiction. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently published a statement that includes relevant information regarding the COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Here is how the COVID-19 vaccination could impact pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The Impacts Of COVID-19
The vast majority of pregnant women that are exposed to COVID-19 will only experience mild cold or flu like symptoms. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of experiencing respiratory complications due to the physiological changes during pregnancy. These complications may include reduced lung function, lower immunity and increased oxygen consumption. Pregnant women with pre existing medical conditions are at increased risk of hospital admission, intensive care and a more severe illness.
COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy
According to RANZCOG based on known data from similar vaccines there is evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a pregnant woman or her fetus. Both RANSGOG and ATAGI recommend that pregnant women should be offered the Pfizer vaccine during any stage of pregnancy.
Global data collected from a substantial number of pregnant women have not identified any significant side effects from the Pfizer Biontech. There is also evidence of antibodies in cord blood and breastmilk, which could offer protection to infants through passive immunity for those vaccinated against COVID-19.
Breastfeeding After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine
There is no data on the safety of breastfeeding of COVID-19 vaccines for lactating women but they are not thought to be a risk to a breastfeeding infant. Also planning a pregnancy shouldn’t need to be disrupted as a result of receiving the vaccine.
After vaccination pregnant women should continue to follow the current health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. RANZCOG has noted the importance of including pregnant and breastfeeding women in clinic trials to help develop evidence-based advice. Due to the current unprecedented health crisis, RANZCOG are continually monitoring and updating their data.
The above information should be considered advisory. If you have any further questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant and breastfeeding women you may like to consult Dr. Kelvin Larwood.