Whether expecting your first or your fourth child, pregnancy (and motherhood, for that matter) can be both an exciting time and fraught with stress and anxiety. You want to keep both yourself and your baby as healthy as possible, and with that natural desire comes choices and decisions that must be made. When pregnant or when nursing, what is okay to eat, and what is generally off-limits? Which medicines or supplements are safe? The questions can be endless, and when in doubt, you can always feel free to consult with your provider.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic and pregnancy, information and data collected have been steadily increasing — here is what we know:

Pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

While the overall risk of serious illness is low, the risk goes up for those who are pregnant or have recently been pregnant. Servere illness from COVID-19 may result in hospitalization, intensive care, the need for a ventilator, or even death. In addition, those who COVID-19 while pregnant could be at an increased risk of premature birth or other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy can drastically reduce these risks.

As for whether or not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, evidence surrounding the safety and effectiveness of receiving the vaccine during pregnancy has been growing. Numerous studies and clinical trials have been performed, and the data has been reassuring, suggesting that the benefits of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus during pregnancy actually outweigh any known or potential risks. While it is possible to contract the virus after receiving the vaccine, those cases are likely to be much milder than in those who have not been vaccinated. The vast majority of those who are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 (including those with the delta variant) are unvaccinated.

These vaccine recommendations have been endorsed by leading maternal health organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), both of which “strongly recommend” that those who are pregnant or breastfeeding receive a complete COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting vaccinated while pregnant can also help protect your baby.

We know that receiving certain vaccinations during pregnancy can protect your newborn from other infectious diseases, such as influenza and pertussis, at a time when they may be most vulnerable to infection but are unable to receive those vaccines. Scientists and doctors are seeing similar results with the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who get vaccinated while pregnant are likely to pass along helpful antibodies to their babies, via both umbilical cord blood in utero and then through the mother’s breast milk after birth.

There is currently no evidence that suggests the COVID-19 vaccine could cause fertility problems.

Professional medical organizations emphasize that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination could cause fertility issues in either men or women.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 12 or older, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future. Please don’t hesitate to speak with your provider about any questions or concerns you may have.