5 Myths About COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy

March 17, 2022

One of the best ways to protect yourself and others is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Research has shown that the vaccine is safe and effective in protecting pregnant people from serious illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Pregnant people and recently pregnant people are at higher risk of getting seriously ill and dying from COVID-19. Pregnant people who get the virus also may be at higher risk for pregnancy problems, such as preterm birth and having their babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

March of Dimes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge people who are pregnant, who were recently pregnant, who are trying to get pregnant and who might become pregnant to get vaccinated. Vaccines also are recommended for people who are nursing.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 vaccines. Here are some of the most widely shared myths about the COVID-19 vaccines and the truths about them.

MYTH: It’s not worth getting the COVID-19 vaccine because I may still get the virus.

TRUTH: It’s true that some people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still get sick with the virus. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but vaccinations have protected us from serious diseases for decades.

If an adult or child who is fully vaccinated gets COVID-19, they often have a milder, shorter illness or even no symptoms. These vaccines can also reduce the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an important step in helping stop the pandemic. If you have already received a full schedule of the COVID-19 vaccine, you may be eligible for a vaccine booster to increase your protection.

MYTH: It’s not safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant.

Pregnant people are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM). In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that people get vaccinated even while getting fertility treatment.

Research about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. As of now, there’s no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes problems with pregnancy. Early data from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine late in pregnancy or for their babies, according to the CDC.

If you get pregnant after getting your first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), experts say you should get your second shot to make sure you get as much protection from the virus as possible. People who are pregnant are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine can cause me to have a miscarriage.

Despite what you may have seen on social media , there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines can affect how the placenta grows during pregnancy or cause you to lose your baby.

In a recent study, pregnant people who received an mRNA COVID-19 (Pfizer-BioNTech or Modern) vaccine just before and during early pregnancy (before 20 weeks of pregnancy) did not have an increased risk for miscarriage, according to the CDC.

However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of a rare risk of blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.

The CDC is continuing to monitor people who have gotten the vacation during all trimesters of pregnancy. If you are pregnant and receive a COVID-19 vaccine, consider participating in the v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry.

MYTH: It’s not safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I want to have a baby.

TRUTH: It’s safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant later, according to the CDC. There is currently no evidence that any COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems for women or men.

Many people have become pregnant after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, including some people who were vaccinated as part of a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. As of now, several studies have found that there is no evidence that vaccine ingredients or the antibodies your body makes after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause any problems with becoming pregnant now or in the future.

Experts have also studied the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on male fertility.  A new and recent study found that the virus that causes COVID-19 infection (SARS Cov-2) may be linked to short-term fertility problems in men. However, more information is needed.

We recommend that anyone trying to get pregnant now or in the future—and their partners—get vaccinated against COVID-19.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine will change my DNA.

TRUTH: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or affect your DNA in any way. Our DNA carries the information about how we look and how our body works and develops. Some COVID-19 vaccines send instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start protecting us from the virus that causes COVID-19. However, that genetic material never enters the center of the cell, which is where our DNA is.

Talk to your health care provider about any questions you have about vaccines.

If you would like to speak to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, you can contact MotherToBaby, whose experts can answer questions in English or Spanish. The free and confidential service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.