Women who are vaccinated against Covid-19 during pregnancy face no increased risk for preterm or low-weight births, according to a study published Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s the latest in a series of studies that have shown the Covid-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women.
The findings are consistent for those who received either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines and for those who were vaccinated during the second or third trimester. There was not enough data to analyze risk among those vaccinated with during the first trimester or with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC study included about 46,000 pregnant women, including about 10,000 who received at least one dose of Covid-19 during vaccination. A preterm birth was defined as less than 37 weeks gestation and low-weight births are those where the baby’s birthweight was below the tenth percentile for gestational age.
Pregnant women who experience a symptomatic case of Covid-19 face a two-fold risk for intensive care unit admission and ventilation and an even higher increased risk for death compared with non-pregnant women who experience a symptomatic infection, according to the researchers.
The CDC recommends vaccination for all women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, those who are trying to become pregnant or may become pregnant in the future. Yet, vaccine uptake among pregnant women is low – only about a third of pregnant women have been vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data.
“Evidence of the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy continues to accrue, including the detection of antibodies in cord blood,” the researchers wrote. That suggests the vaccinating pregnant women can also protect their newborns.
“Together, these findings reinforce the importance of communicating the risks for Covid-19 during pregnancy, the benefits of vaccination, and information on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy,” they added.
The study does not account for potentially confounding factors, including a pregnant woman’s previous history of preterm or low-weight births or a prior Covid-19 infection. Also, the group studied does not include those who may have been eligible for additional vaccine doses or booster shots during pregnancy.