Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. Any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, a conversation with your healthcare provider might help, but is not required.

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

Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that results in intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation, or death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.

Limited data are available about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant

Based on how these vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. However, there are currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people

  • Clinical trials that look at the safety and how well the COVID-19 vaccines work in pregnant people are underway or planned. Vaccine manufacturers are also monitoring data from people in the clinical trials who received vaccine and became pregnant.
  • Studies in animals receiving a Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy found no safety concerns.

CDC and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have safety monitoring systems in place to gather information about vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor that information. Most of the pregnancies in these systems are ongoing, so we don’t yet have information on the outcomes of these pregnancies. We need to continue to follow pregnancies long-term to understand effects on pregnancy and infants.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines that do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and, therefore, cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA or cause genetic changes because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, meaning it uses a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. Viral vector technology has been used by Janssen for other vaccine development programs.  Vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all trimesters of pregnancy, including in a large-scale Ebola vaccination trial. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes that affected the infant, were associated with vaccination in these trials. Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.

If you are pregnant and receive a COVID-19 vaccine, consider participating in the v-safe pregnancy registry

If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to enroll in v-safe. V-safe is CDC’s smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after vaccination. A v-safe pregnancy registry has been established to gather information on the health of pregnant people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. If people enrolled in v-safe report that they were pregnant at the time of vaccination or after vaccination, the registry staff might contact them to learn more. Participation is voluntary, and participants may opt out at any time.

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice

If you are pregnant, you may choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. You may want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated with a vaccine that has been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization. While a conversation with your healthcare provider may be helpful, it is not required prior to vaccination.

Key considerations you can discuss with your healthcare provider include:

  • How likely you are to being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Risks of COVID-19 to you and the potential risks to your fetus or infant
  • What is known about the vaccine:
    • how well it works to develop protection in the body
    • known side effects of the vaccine
    • limited data on the safety of COVID-19 during pregnancy, because it was not studied among pregnant people
If you are pregnant and have questions about COVID-19 vaccine

If you would like to speak to someone about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, please contact MotherToBaby. MotherToBaby experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish by phone or chat. The free and confidential service is available Monday–Friday 8am–5pm (local time). To reach MotherToBaby:

Follow recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after vaccination

If you are pregnant and decide to get vaccinated, after you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccine side effects

Side effects can occur after receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, especially after the second dose for those that require two doses. Pregnant people have not reported different side effects from non-pregnant people after vaccination with mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines). If you experience fever following vaccination you should take acetaminophen because fever has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Learn more at What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine.

Some people have experienced allergic reactions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous).

Key considerations you can discuss with your healthcare provider include:

  • The unknown risks of developing a severe allergic reaction
  • The benefits of vaccination

If you have an allergic reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, you can receive treatment for it.

People who are breastfeeding

Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization in the United States did not include people who are breastfeeding. Because the vaccines have not been studied on lactating people, there are no data available on:

  • The safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people
  • The effects of vaccination on the breastfed infant
  • The effects on milk production or excretion

The COVID-19 vaccines authorized now are non-replicating vaccines, meaning they are able to create an immune response but do not reproduce inside host cells. Because non-replicating vaccines pose no risk for lactating people or their infants, COVID-19 vaccines are also thought to not be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Therefore, lactating people may choose to be vaccinated.

People who would like to have a baby

If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you.

There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems. CDC does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination. If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will report findings as they become available.