September 10, 2021

People who are pregnant and breastfeeding should get the COVID-19 vaccine

A pregnant person sitting in a lounge chair, holding their bump

Madison, Wis. – UW Health maternal fetal medicine specialists urge those who are pregnant and breastfeeding to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for people who are pregnant and breastfeeding, and recently several major expert and governmental organizations have made very strong recommendations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding to get the vaccine.

These factors should put patients at ease, according to Dr. Michael Beninati, critical care and maternal fetal medicine specialist, UW Health, and associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both agree that the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh theoretical risk for these patients, Beninati said.

“It is certainly understandable to be concerned about potential adverse effects of the vaccine for your fetus while you’re still pregnant, or for your newborn after you deliver and are potentially breastfeeding,” he said. “But the overwhelming scientific evidence has shown that the vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding people and their babies.”

There are three important things to consider, according to Beninati:

  1. Safety data continue to come in about how COVID-19 vaccines affect pregnant people, showing there are no demonstrable increases in side effects such as infertility, birth defects and stillbirth.

  2. Clear data from ACOG and the CDC say that people who are pregnant and contract COVID-19 often have more severe disease and worse outcomes for mom and baby as compared to non-pregnant patients. The vaccines overwhelmingly protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death. Additionally, the vaccine provides early immunity to fetuses and newborns.

  3. National and international organizations now recommend the vaccines for pregnant and breastfeeding patients.

Dr. Michael Beninati discusses UW Health's advice that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding receive the COVID-19 vaccine.