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Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Pregnant Women? Here’s What We Know So Far

Following the first COVID-19 case in Malaysia in January 2020, the pandemic has spread causing the national lockdown almost throughout the whole year. Malaysia has just began its ambitious vaccination programme in three phases, aiming to immunise 80% of its 32 million population by the end of February 2022.

COVID-19 vaccines are perhaps the best way to prevent us from getting infected from this deadly virus. In Malaysia, the vaccination programme themed ‘Protect Oneself, Protect Everyone’, is a government strategy to ensure that as many Malaysians as possible are vaccinated to break the chain of infection, contributing to herd immunity. Nevertheless, some people are facing dilemma regarding the vaccines especially among women.

I’m pregnant. Should I take the  COVID-19 vaccine?

You should consider taking the vaccines if the risks of your exposure to the virus is high and cannot be avoided, or if you have underlying comorbidities that pose high risks for you to get infected such as pregnant healthcare workers.

Pregnant mothers are at increased risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19 compared to those who are not pregnant. They are at higher risks for being hospitalized in an intensive care unit and require a specialized medical treatment  including breathing support. 

 COVID-19 might be at increased risk of harmful pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, and perinatal death. However, if you are eligible for and have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine, the decision whether to have the vaccination during pregnancy is your choice. The best is for you to consult your specialist doctors to determine if you need the vaccine.

Is COVID-19 vaccination safe for pregnant mothers?

So far, pregnant women who are  vaccinated appear to have the same adverse effects as nonpregnant individuals. There are no reported cases of miscarriages, stillbirths or preterm births. Besides, based on how these vaccines work in our body, many experts believed that they are unlikely to pose specific risks to those who are pregnant. 

If you are trying to become pregnant now or in the future, you may receive the vaccination. There is currently no evidence showing that any vaccines cause fertility problems. Therefore, pregnancy should not be avoided after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.

Side effects can occur after receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccines including fever. This can be managed by taking acetaminophen and getting adequate rest. Should you  experience allergic reactions post-vaccination, you need to get help from a  healthcare provider.

Could the COVID-19 vaccines affect my pregnancy?

The vaccines do not contain any ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnancy. Studies of the vaccines in animals to look at the effects on pregnancy have shown no evidence that the vaccine causes harm to both mother and the fetus.

What are the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women?

COVID-19 vaccination is effective in preventing the infection of coronavirus. It can also reduce the risks of premature births  by three times  and potentially reduce transmission to vulnerable family members. For some pregnant women who have underlying conditions that would be affected by the complications of COVID-19, the vaccines should be considered if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Takeaway

Whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant, the COVID-19 vaccination is generally safe. Based on specialized physician’s advice, you are recommended to take it. Stay informed by referring to trusted health sources and consulting your authorized healthcare provider.

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