COVID-19, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: What You Should Know

Posted: Thursday, August 5, 2021

Supriya Mannepalli, MD, CIC, MBA
Medical Director, NGPG Infectious Diseases

Keshma Saujani, MD
Chair of OB/GYN Services, NGHS
OB/GYN with Longstreet Clinic.

Along with the arrival of the Delta variant and the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, we’ve seen some uncertainty among mothers and new parents regarding protecting their families – and especially their newest additions. With this in mind, we thought we’d answer a few of the most common questions we’ve been getting lately at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

How does COVID-19 affect pregnant mothers?

The CDC reports that pregnant women are at more of an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, a ventilator/other special equipment to breathe, or illness resulting in death.

Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes when compared to pregnant women without COVID-19.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine while I’m pregnant?

Yes, you can get the vaccine during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID-19. Getting a vaccine could help both you and your baby. The vaccines are very effective at preventing or lessening the effects of COVID-19 infection and saving lives.

If you are pregnant and have questions or want to know more about the vaccines, we recommend you talk with your OB/GYN. The CDC and ACOG also provide educational resources as well:
CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
ACOG: COVID-19 Vaccination Considerations for Obstetric–Gynecologic Care 

If I’m currently breastfeeding, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, both the CDC and ACOG not only encourage but recommend that breastfeeding women get the COVID-19 vaccine. There is also no need to stop breastfeeding if you want to get a vaccine. After the vaccination, the antibodies your body makes can be passed through breastmilk and help protect your child from the virus.

Can I get the vaccine if I’m trying to get pregnant?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility. If you are planning, trying or even just thinking of getting pregnant, you should consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and your growing family. Additionally, it’s not necessary to wait to get pregnant after receiving the vaccine.

What should I do if I’m pregnant and think I may have COVID-19?

If you think you may have been exposed to someone with  COVID-19 and have a fever or cough, call your OBGYN or other health care professional right away. Please call 911 or go to the hospital immediately if you are experiencing any of the following warning signs:

  • Having a hard time breathing or shortness of breath (more than what has been normal for you during pregnancy)
  • Ongoing pain or pressure in the chest
  • Sudden confusion
  • Unable to respond or communicate to others
  • Blue lips or face

Want to know more about NGMC’s response to COVID-19? Visit nghs.com/covid-vaccine for information about the Delta variant, where to find vaccines and some other frequently asked questions surrounding vaccines.