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East TN doctor says COVID-19 vaccine is safe for women before, during and after pregnancy

Studies show more than 130,000 woman received the COVID-19 vaccine. None had any complications.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Dr. Kimberly Fortner from the University of Tennessee Medical Center said more than 130,000 pregnant women have received a COVID-19 vaccine across the country and none of them having any complications.

She said women only reported routine side effects from the vaccine.

Spanish Version: Doctora afirma que la vacuna contra COVID-19 es segura para las mujeres antes, durante y después del embarazo

Fortner said a study from the New England Journal of Medicine shows women across all three trimesters got the vaccine. According to the study, 30% of pregnant women got their vaccine in the first trimester, 43% in the second trimester and 25% in the third.

She said the vaccine is safe and effective whether a woman is pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding.

"When we look at those women, there were no specific safety concerns in their pregnancies," Fortner said.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Safe Pregnancy

UT Medical Center's Dr. Kimberly Fortner, Vice Chair, OB/Gyn Department and Vice President, Women and Infants Services, shares information about how COVID-19 vaccines have impacted pregnancy. Dr. Fortner will discuss how the vaccine protects against the new Delta variant and address other concerns many new mothers may have. Please share any questions you have for Dr. Fortner about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy in the chat below.

Posted by UT Medical Center on Thursday, August 5, 2021

WHAT'S THE RISK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN UNVACCINATED VS. VACCINATED PREGNANT WOMAN?

"Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher rate of stillbirth," Fortner said.

Dr. Fortner said there's also a higher rate of having the baby prematurely for pregnant women with COVID19. 

IS THE VACCINE SAFE IF I AM PREGNANT OR TRYING TO GET PREGNANT?

Simple answer, yes.

Fortner said the vaccine won't affect your fertility.

"No change in sperm, no change in ovulation, no change in implantation of an embryo and then finally, no negative effects on miscarriage," Fortner said.

IF THERE'S NO INCREASED RISK, THEN HOW DO I GET THE MOST BENEFIT?

"We give those antibodies across the placenta as a little gift to our newborn and those last and protect our baby for the first 3 months of their life when their immune system can't make antibodies yet," Fortner said.

Fortner said there are no adverse consequences to getting the vaccine.

"The formal recommendation is to get your COVID-19 vaccine if you're pregnant," Fortner said.

The CDC also recommends the vaccine for pregnant women and Johns Hopkins recommends women talk with their doctors and get the vaccine.