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‘Born protected’: The benefits of getting vaccinated while pregnant

A side view of a woman's pregnant belly

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or you’re breastfeeding, medical experts say the COVID-19 vaccine is safe to take and it can also be beneficial for the baby.

Dr. Daniel Grace, divisional director of maternal fetal medicine for Rochester Regional Hospital, said the vaccine does not increase the risk of pregnancy complications, but rather provides passive immunity.

“When mom gets the vaccine, she develops antibodies that do cross the placenta and provide a degree of protection to the newborn,” said Grace.

He said pregnant women are three times more likely to become severely ill with the virus and end up in the ICU compared to women who aren’t pregnant. Not only does the vaccine protect mom from serious illness, but it can also help protect the baby after delivery, Grace said.

This particular part of the study is what influenced Nelissa Perez’s decision to get vaccinated in the middle of her second trimester.

“I knew it was an instant vaccination for my baby — my baby was going to be born protected,” said Perez, who is due toward the end of the month with her third child.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also encouraging pregnant vaccinated women to enroll in the v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry. The smartphone-based application uses text messages and web surveys to perform health check-ins after you’ve received the vaccine.

The information collected will be evaluated and used to educate the public about how COVID-19 vaccination might affect pregnancy.

Perez said her pregnancy has been normal and she’s only experienced soreness around her injection area. She said getting vaccinated has also changed her mind about having friends and family see her newborn.

“Now that I know that we have some protection, I may allow some visitors,” Perez said. “Especially if people are vaccinated.”