COVID-19 Vaccine: Answers to questions about fertility and pregnancy

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Earlier this month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strengthened its recommendation for the COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, citing new evidence of safety with the vaccines.

The CDC is now recommending COVID-19 vaccination for all people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.

Despite this news, many women are still deciding not to get vaccinated. The task of convincing them otherwise is made harder by misinformation and online rumors.

“The medical community, we’re scared,” said Dr. Dena Hubbard, pediatrician, and chair of the public policy committee for the Kansas chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It was scary last year, it’s getting scarier by the minute.”

This anxious, fearful state Dr. Dena Hubbard describes is brought on by multiple factors ranging from exhausted frontline workers, the surging Delta variant, and distrust in vaccines amongst pregnant women.

“I’ve discharged babies from the NICU and their mom is not the one taking them home because she died of COVID,” she said.

Tragic stories about COVID-positive mothers dying after childbirth are circulating across the country.

Dr. Hubbard finds it frustrating that some choose to trust unfounded conspiracy theories online or social media regarding vaccine safety for women.

“Luckily now we’ve got a lot of data and a lot of moms that have been studied and there are no increased risks. I know there’s some misinformation out there about infertility and stillbirth and different things like that for pregnancy and that’s not the case. They’ve studied I believe over 130 thousand women that have had the vaccine and none of those things increase with the vaccine.”

During the interview with Dr. Hubbard, I opened up about my own struggles with infertility.

After trying different treatment options for a couple of years now my husband and I remain unsuccessful in our hopes of starting a family. Instead of believing the claims that the COVID vaccine would impact my ability to have children even more so, I spoke with my primary care doctor, the doctors I currently see at an area fertility clinic, and my husband, who is a Physician Assistant about my concerns. All recommended that I get the vaccine.

At the beginning of April, I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. While I don’t regret my decision at all, I was curious how to best convince women still hesitant to get the vaccine, so I asked Dr. Hubbard for her take on calming their fears about possible side effects.

“You know I know that is a real concern, and I would say that as a mom I had my 18-year-old daughter get the vaccine, and it’s risk versus benefit,” she said. “And so I would tell women that if you want to be alive to potentially have a baby at any time, really the thing you need to do is to get the vaccine.”

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