The CDC Is Now Urging COVID-19 Vaccines During Pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advises those who are breastfeeding or are thinking of becoming pregnant to get inoculated.

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Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant has been a topic of conversation since doses began to roll out last year much of the past year when they began to roll out in early 2021.And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously suggested that pregnant people could receive the vaccine, the organization is now officially recommending that those who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, and breastfeeding get vaccinated.

"The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people," said Rochelle Walensky, M.D., director of the CDC, in a statement Wednesday. (

The CDC updated its guidelines Wednesday in light of new research, noting on its website that "evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing." Additionally, the data "suggests that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy."

Wednesday's updated guidelines from the CDC come just a few weeks after the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated its recommendations to also encourage all pregnant people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. "There is no evidence of adverse maternal or fetal effects from vaccinating pregnant individuals with COVID-19, and a growing body of data demonstrate the safety of such use," said the ACOG in a recent statement.

All that being said, however, only 23 percent of pregnant people in the U.S. have received one dose of the vaccine, according to recent data from the CDC.

If you're pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, it's understandable to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and why the CDC is urging pregnant people to get it now.Here's what you need to know.

What Does the CDC Data Say?

For starters, the CDC noted that there were no safety concerns found in animal studies with the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. That's true with animals that received the vaccine before or during pregnancy. The CDC, however, did not specify which type ofanimals were tested in the study. (

Separate CDC analysis did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among 2,500 pregnant people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) before the 20th week of their pregnancy. (ICYDK, Miscarriages typically occur in the 12th week of pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes.) The study found that miscarriage rates after receiving the vaccine were around 13 percent — similar to the rate of miscarriage in the general population of 11-16 percent.

Why It's So Important That Pregnant People Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine

The overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is low, but the CDC says that pregnant and newly pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus when they're compared with people who are not pregnant. That includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, the need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or even dying from the virus.

Pregnant people who contract COVID-19 also have an increased risk of preterm birth (a birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy) and other poor pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds) when compared to pregnant people without COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Getting Vaccinated While Pregnant May Also Pass Antibodies On to Your Baby

The CDC notes that when pregnant people receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during their pregnancy, their bodies built up antibodies against the virus — and those antibodies have been found in umbilical cord blood. This suggests that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy might help protect babies against the virus, says the CDC. (

A case study published in March also found that antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, were found in the cord blood of a mother who was vaccinated against the virus three weeks before she gave birth. (

If you're thinking about getting the COVID-19 vaccine during your pregnancy and have questions, talk to your doctor so they can guide you toward making an informed decision.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. As updates about coronavirus COVID-19 continue to evolve, it's possible that some information and recommendations in this story have changed since initial publication. We encourage you to check in regularly with resources such as the CDC, the WHO, and your local public health department for the most up-to-date data and recommendations.

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