Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy? Atrium Health experts share helpful information surrounding this important topic, along with promising data showing that vaccines are safe for moms-to-be.

Coronavirus Updates, Women's Health

Pregnant or Trying to Get Pregnant? Here's What You Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy? Atrium Health experts share helpful information surrounding this important topic, along with promising data showing that vaccines are safe for moms-to-be.

Information current as of August 12, 2021

Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy? Atrium Health experts share helpful information surrounding this important topic.

During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is compromised, and women are more vulnerable to infections and viruses. Research shows the same is true when it comes to COVID-19. If you are pregnant and get COVID-19, you have a greater chance of becoming very ill. For this reason, pregnant women are considered “high-risk” individuals. 

But the good news is that data is showing that the vaccine is safe for moms-to-be. To-date, more than 139,000 pregnant women nationally have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Information from these women shows that the vaccine works well for pregnant women and doesn’t increase risk of pregnancy complications. Research also shows that pregnant women who receive the COVID-19 vaccine may even pass on some immunity to their babies. 

Here, Lorene Temming, MD, OB/GYN,maternal fetal medicine and medical director of labor and delivery with Atrium Health and Katie Passaretti, MD, medical director of infection prevention at Atrium Health expand upon these important facts by responding to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy.

If I am pregnant, should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are pregnant and get COVID-19, you have a greater chance of getting very sick and being hospitalized. This puts you in a high-risk category. Pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to experience complications in their pregnancy, including preterm birth and stillbirth. 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that ALL pregnant or breastfeeding women be vaccinated against COVID-19 .

We strongly recommend all pregnant women be vaccinated with whichever vaccine is available to them. 

What data do we have about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy?

Pregnant women were not included in the initial trials of the vaccine. However, there have been over 139,000 pregnant women who have gotten the vaccine and been reported in the CDC’s v-safe post-vaccination health checker. This smartphone-based tool provides personalized health check-ins after receiving the vaccine, allowing the CDC to track any adverse side effects that might occur. 

The information from these pregnancies does not show any risk. In fact, initial data shows that the vaccine works just as well in pregnant and non-pregnant women and that side-effects from the vaccine occur at similar rates in pregnant and non-pregnant women. The vaccine side-effects in pregnant women are no different or more severe than those seen in non-pregnant women. The protein created by the vaccine is too large to cross the placenta and less than 0.02% of the vaccine even reaches the uterus. There is no evidence that any part of the vaccine crosses the placenta. 

In addition to all of this reassuring data, information from women who have been vaccinated shows that there is no increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and stillbirth, in women who are vaccinated during pregnancy. In fact, any type of vaccine that a pregnant woman gets may offer some protection to the baby. Multiple studies have shown that babies receive antibodies (proteins made by the mom’s immune system to fight the virus) when the mom is vaccinated. 

How else can I protect myself from COVID-19 while I’m pregnant? 

Pregnant women have a greater chance of getting very sick from COVID-19. This is why it’s important to protect yourself. For that reason, pregnant women and their families should practice COVID-safe behaviors. You should stay a safe distance from others, wear a mask and wash your hands often

Family members of pregnant women should also think about getting the vaccine if it’s available to them. 

If I am breastfeeding, should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine is also recommended for women who are breastfeeding. This recommendation is supported by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 while breastfeeding is safe. The spike protein made by the vaccine which teaches your body to be immune to COVID-19 is too large to pass into breastmilk. Multiple studies have looked at breastmilk of vaccinated mothers and shown no components of the vaccines in breastmilk. 

There is some evidence to suggest that getting the vaccine while breastfeeding can protect your baby from getting COVID-19. The protective antibodies your body makes may pass to the baby in the breastmilk. The antibody proteins your body makes that fight the COVID-19 virus and protect the baby were found in the breastmilk of 97% of breastfeeding moms for as long as six weeks after vaccination. 

Should a person get the vaccine if they’re trying to get pregnant or having fertility treatment?

A person who is considering pregnancy or undergoing fertility treatment should definitely be vaccinated. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends  the vaccine for patients planning to get pregnant soon. The vaccine is not a live virus and there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because you have received the vaccine or if you plan to get the vaccine. Since pregnant women are at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19 and at risk for associated pregnancy complications, women contemplating pregnancy or undergoing fertility treatment should be vaccinated. 

The COVID-19 vaccine does not increase miscarriages, even if a woman gets the vaccine early in pregnancy. About 30% of the pregnant women in the CDC’s v-safe post-vaccination health checker received the vaccine in early pregnancy. Miscarriage rates among these women were low and the same as miscarriage rates in the general population. 

There has been spread of dangerous incorrect information on social media stating that COVID-19 vaccines will cause women to not be able to become pregnant. This is not true and this myth has been disproven. One part of the myth is that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein made by the vaccine will lead your body to create antibodies (proteins that fight infection) against any future placenta because of similarity between the spike protein and a placenta protein. Laboratory studies have shown that the spike protein antibody made by the vaccine DOES NOT react with the placenta protein.

Additionally, a recent study of women undergoing fertility treatment compared women who had received a COVID-19 vaccine and had antibodies, women who had been infected with COVID-19 and antibodies, and women who had never been infected or vaccinated. Success rates of frozen embryo transfer were similar between all groups, showing that there was no impact of COVID-19 vaccination and immunity on success rates. Moreover, these success rates were similar to pre-pandemic frozen embryo transfer success rates.

Do any parts of the COVID-19 vaccine build up in the ovary?

Another myth has been spread on social media that the parts of the vaccine build up in the ovaries, potentially making it hard to get pregnant. A recent study showed that the ovaries only received a very small part (<0.1%) of the dose of the vaccine. Multiple studies have demonstrated no negative impact on fertility of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my period?

There are a number of reports of women having increased or irregular bleeding after COVID-19 vaccination. This has not been thoroughly studied. However, we know that many other vaccines can cause temporary increased or irregular bleeding with your period. These temporary changes are due to the work your immune system does to prepare to fight the virus. Periods return to normal quickly after these immune system changes. Initial reports show that very few women have changes in their period after COVID-19 vaccines. Importantly, none of these short-term changes in your period have been shown to make it difficult to get pregnant in the future. 

Additional resources

This information may be updated when more information is available. To learn more, check out the sources below for additional resources and information:

For additional COVID-19 and vaccine resources, visit  

Dr. Temming is the lead physician for Atrium Health’s labor and delivery coronavirus response and part of the Atrium Health highly infectious disease team. She works on clinical protocols, research and quality improvement on labor and delivery. Dr. Temming is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and in maternal fetal medicine by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Passaretti serves as the Medical Director of Infection Prevention for Atrium Health, and is an attending faculty physician in the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Passaretti is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and has been instrumental in leading Atrium Health's efforts on the COVID-19 task force.