All pregnant women should be vaccinated "without delay" against COVID-19, two leading groups of U.S. obstetric specialists recommend.
That advice -- from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) -- is based on tens of thousands of cases over the past several months showing that vaccination during pregnancy is safe.
"ACOG encourages its members to enthusiastically recommend vaccination to their patients. This means emphasizing the known safety of the vaccines and the increased risk of severe complications associated with COVID-19 infection, including death, during pregnancy," said Dr. J. Martin Tucker, ACOG president.
"It is clear that pregnant people need to feel confident in the decision to choose vaccination, and a strong recommendation from their obstetrician-gynecologist could make a meaningful difference for many pregnant people," Tucker added in a news release from the two groups.
So far, only about 22% of pregnant women in the United States have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women who have recently had babies and were not vaccinated during pregnancy are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible, the national groups advise.
They noted that COVID-19 cases are surging due to the Delta variant and that there are low rates of vaccination in some regions of the United States.
Data show that more than 95% of people who are hospitalized and/or dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
According to Dr. William Grobman, president of SMFM, "COVID-19 vaccination is the best method to reduce maternal and fetal complications of COVID-19 infection among pregnant people."
Tucker said ACOG is recommending vaccination of mothers-to-be because "we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals, because we know that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications, and because it is clear from the current vaccination rates that people need to feel confident in the safety and protective value of the COVID-19 vaccines."
The bottom line: "Pregnant individuals should feel confident that choosing COVID-19 vaccination not only protects them but also protects their families and communities," he said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding.
SOURCE: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, news release, July 30, 2021