Pregnancy and the COVID-19 Vaccine

By Maria Kolojeski, DO Obstetrics & Gynecology | St. Luke's OB-GYN, Miller Creek Medical Clinic

Insights and recommendations from the St. Luke’s team

It’s understandable to have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine and we encourage you to ask questions. That’s especially true when you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions. 

 

Is it safe for mom and baby?

We are confident that it is safe for both mom and baby based on what we already know about the vaccine, and from information we’ve received from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Based on this data, we recommend that any woman who is pregnant, nursing or trying to become pregnant receive the vaccine. However, this is a personal decision as clinical data is still being collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

How does it work?

The vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines (the ‘m’ is short for ‘messenger’). This kind of vaccine does not contain any live virus. Instead, it includes information that allows our cells to learn how to make the same type of harmless spike proteins found in the COVID-19 virus. The appearance of this new protein then triggers an immune response in our bodies, which creates antibodies that help protect us against the actual COVID-19 virus. 

Since the vaccine does not contain live virus, and the reported side effects are minimal, we believe that the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the potential harm from a patient contracting the virus. 

What are the side effects?

There are several reported side effects from both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. However, these side effects are typically mild and last for only around 24 hours. While stronger side effects or side effects lasting up to 72 hours have been reported, these are not the norm.

Most commonly patients report:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site redness or pain
  • Mild flu-like illness
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever (reported in 1-3% of patients after first dose and 15% after second)

 

The important thing to remember about side effects is that they mean the vaccine is working. The side effects listed above are all the result of your immune system responding to the vaccine and creating antibodies.

What if I’m still unsure?

If you’re still unsure, talk to your OB-GYN or family doctor. If you’re looking online for answers, we recommend you visit the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians as well as the Centers for Disease Control websites. Both have excellent resources, information and recommendations that are all based on science and data.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.