If you're pregnant and worried that getting a COVID-19 vaccine might trigger severe side effects, you can relax.
New research shows that pregnant women and new mothers don't suffer more reactions after a shot than other women do.
"Pregnant people do well with the vaccine," said lead study author Dr. Alisa Kachikis, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington in Seattle.
In January, she set up a website and invited women to describe their reactions after receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 shot.
By March, 17,525 women had responded -- mostly in the United States. Of those, 44% were pregnant; 38% were breastfeeding; and 15% were planning a pregnancy soon.
Sixty-two percent of respondents received the Pfizer vaccine.
Women reported pain at the injection site (91%); fatigue (31%); and an average temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit after their shots. A small number (between 5% and 7%) reported a decrease in milk supply, according to findings published Aug. 17 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
"There were not any increased reactions in pregnant individuals beyond what is expected from a vaccine," senior author Dr. Linda Eckert, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University.
The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention recently recommended that all pregnant women get a COVID vaccine. As of the end of July, just 23% of pregnant women in the U.S. were vaccinated and the percentage was even lower among Black and Hispanic women, according to the CDC.
Eckert said she hoped the new study would reassure pregnant women.
"Not only is the vaccine safe, our research shows just how well the vaccine is tolerated in pregnant individuals -- which is a common fear I hear from my patients," she said in a university news release. "In contrast, we are continuing to learn more and more about just how dangerous COVID-19 infections are in pregnancy."
As of now, 20,000 women are enrolled in the ongoing study and new respondents continue to post comments about their experiences.
Eckert said the study shows that pregnant women tolerate the vaccine well and should be included in clinical trials for other relevant vaccines.
"I think this gives a level of evidence to advocate for Phase 3 trials [for pregnant individuals] in the future," she said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines and pregnant women and new mothers.
SOURCE: University of Washington, news release, Aug. 17, 2021