We are so grateful to Courtney for sharing her COVID-19 vaccine story. Read more here.
This time last year, I was 34 weeks pregnant with our daughter Ellie. Overall my second pregnancy was more difficult than my first. I was so overwhelmed from raising our almost-two-year-old, tired and emotional from hormones, and anxious because of the pandemic that was still affecting all of us.
When the news was announced that pregnant women could get the Covid vaccine, I was 26 weeks along and being as careful and diligent as I possibly could with masking, distancing, and sanitizing. My friends and family were all excited about the vaccine and couldn’t wait for it to be their turn, but here I was with the chance to get it and I was hesitant.
Though I took some time and ultimately decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it was not a decision that I took lightly. I am so happy that I did it and with all the current data around COVID vaccines and pregnancy, I know I made the right choice in protecting myself and my daughter.
How I made the decision
I made the mistake of reading other peoples’ opinions in the comments sections on social media in regards to the vaccine and pregnant women. I had some very late nights scrolling on my phone trying to decide what to do.
Finally, I realized that reading social media comments was distracting me from thinking for myself and I just stopped. I had to make this decision for myself and I knew the only way I’d do that was by focusing on two things. The recommendations from trusted health organizations and having a conversation with my OB/GYN.
Some sources that are helpful when doing Covid vaccine research:
Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine While I’m Pregnant – ACOG
COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding – CDC
How were they able to develop the COVID-19 vaccine so much faster than other vaccines from the past? – I Vaccinate
Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the risks? – Mayo Clinic
Why I made the decision
At my next OB visit, I asked what they recommended for pregnant women and the Covid vaccine. I was able to voice my personal concerns (fertility issues in the past, my first daughter’s health scare and stay in the NICU, my anxieties about leaving the house while pregnant and giving birth during a pandemic) and I felt heard and listened to.
This is why I recommend always talking to your doctor about big health decisions. No article or social media post on the internet is going to give you advice based on your own personal concerns or health history, but your doctor will. My doctor said the Covid vaccine benefits outweighed my concerns and would give me the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Along with the recommendation from my doctor, I considered the vast amount of information and data that had already been collected from pregnant women who’d received the Covid vaccine before me.
According to Johns Hopkins, as of February 2022, over 200,000 pregnant women have gotten the COVID vaccine without any safety concerns. Data shows that pregnant women are more likely to have severe health risks if they contract COVID-19.
So to me, the risk of catching COVID while pregnant and facing severe illness, hospitalization, preterm birth, or worse, scared me much more than getting a vaccine that is reported to be safe and effective in preventing these things.
COVID vaccine benefits during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Even last year, there was information about the vaccine being safe for pregnant women. And since getting my vaccine a year ago, more information has been released about the benefits of the Covid vaccine for pregnant women and their children. A 2022 update to a 2021 National Institute of Health (NIH) article states:
Mothers who were vaccinated with mRNA vaccines while pregnant had levels of protective antibodies three times higher than mothers who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant
From serum samples of 28 vaccinated mothers, 57% of babies still had antibodies at 6 months of age, compared to 8% of babies born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy.
I feel grateful I was able to get the benefits and the peace of mind from the Covid vaccine during my pregnancy. If you’re struggling to make the decision, I urge you to speak to your healthcare provider and seek guidance from trusted healthcare organizations.
Ultimately, it is your decision to make. I hope that hearing from another mama who had to make this big decision after weighing the risks helps you in some way.