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COVID-19 vaccines and their impact on women's health


 

Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.

We understand that vaccine myths and misconceptions concerning women’s health and reproductive health persist, and you may have some concerns about them. In this blog, we answer the most commonly asked questions on the subject:

  1. Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility rates?
  2. What are precautions for handling newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  3. Are COVID-19 booster shots safe for pregnant women?

Keep on reading to find the answers to each question.

Fertility issues and the COVID-19 vaccine

The CDC says there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes female or male fertility issues. Researchers found no differences in pregnancy success rates in a clinical study involving groups of people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, have antibodies from being infected, and have neither been vaccinated nor infected.

A small study that examined the sperm of 45 men who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine saw no significant changes to sperm count and characteristics post-vaccination. This research indicates that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t cause fertility problems in males.

Precautions for newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic

According to the CDC, the chances of a newly born baby getting COVID-19 from a birth parent are low, especially when preventive measures are taken. If you are in isolation for COVID-19 after giving birth, here are the steps to take to reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus to your newborn:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer before handling your newborn.
  • Wear a mask while you’re within six feet of the infant, including when breastfeeding.
  • Keep at least six feet away from your baby as much as possible.

Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic

Keep in mind that there is no need to disrupt or discontinue breastfeeding before or after getting the COVID-19 vaccine or during a COVID-19 infection. There is currently no evidence that breast milk can pass the virus to babies. However, antibodies—both from the vaccine and recovering from the illness—can pass through breast milk and may further protect your baby from the virus. This is why getting vaccinated before, during, or after pregnancy is so important—the benefits outweigh any risks for you and your baby in the long run!

COVID-19 booster shots for pregnant women

Pregnant women are encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccine boosters. The CDC lists pregnant and recently pregnant women among the list of people eligible for vaccine boosters because they are at a higher risk of severe disease and complications from COVID-19 than others.

The dominance of the Delta variant is continuously causing increased cases of COVID-19 across the United States, and vaccine boosters can help protect pregnant women and their babies. Speak to a St. Joseph Health OBGYN about getting a vaccine booster or if you have health concerns to discuss. Still waiting for your second COVID-19 vaccine? Look to our COVID-19 vaccine hub for helpful resources.

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