Should you Get the COVID-19 Vaccine if You are Pregnant or Trying To Conceive?

As soon as COVID-19 vaccines arrived, conspiracy theories about harmful effects began spreading. Perhaps shrewdly, several of these conspiracy theories target reproductive age women, claiming falsely, for example, that the vaccines will impair fertility or, if they are already pregnant, harm their baby’s placenta. 

This is partly the fault of the Moderna and Pfizer, the producers of these vaccines, who excluded pregnant women from their clinical trials, despite leading maternal health organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all but begging them to test their vaccines in pregnant women. Naturally, the antivax movement was more than happy to step into the resulting data void. 

So here’s what I think pregnant women should know, if they have the chance to get one of these vaccines: Get the vaccine. Get it as soon as it is offered to you. 

If I were pregnant, I would absolutely get one of the two currently available vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), for a few reasons.

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Sign away mamas: Formula consent forms are based on unscientific fearmongering

As part of their “baby-friendly” initiatives, some hospitals now require women to sign consent forms before receiving formula. These forms purport to list the “harms” associated with “a single bottle” of formula, and ask that parents signify their understanding that formula should not be given unless medically necessary.

On its face, asking parents to sign a waiver to receive formula, a long-used and widely available way of feeding babies, seems astoundingly paternalistic. But what I find most shocking are the allegedly “scientific” claims these forms make about supplementing with formula.

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What’s the deal with the infant microbiome?

The human microbiome is one of the hottest topic in medical research today, and with good reason.

This collection of trillions of microscopic inhabitants–bacteria, viruses, and fungi—cover nearly every interior and exterior surface of the human body, and many scientists now believe that these unseen co-passengers, far from being incidental hangers-on, are instead actively cultivated by our bodies and play a critical role in our immune and metabolic health.

Over the last decade, studies have linked the composition of our microbiomes the to a panoply of modern ailments: obesity, asthma, allergies, acne, C difficile induced diarrhea, and autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s and Type 1 Diabetes.

Our microbiome may matter most in early infancy.

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Overwhelmed by prenatal genetic testing options? Download my ebook!

Who needs prenatal testing for genetic disorders? How much does your risk of carrying a baby with a genetic disorder increase with your age? Which prenatal test or screen is right for you?

These are among the questions my amazing co-author Molly Dickens (and fellow pregnant scientist blogger/partner-in-crime) and I tackle in our new ebook on prenatal testing. We provide a quick “cheat sheet” on how these tests compare, and then dig into the nitty-gritty details of each as well as the history of prenatal testing and how to estimate your personal risk of carrying a baby with a genetic disorder.

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