Pregnant? Looking to get the COVID vaccine? Here’s what you need to know

Local health experts, mothers weigh in

ROANOKE, Va. – Expectant mothers planning to welcome a child during the coronavirus pandemic have an important decision to make: should they get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Mandy Irby, a labor and delivery nurse who started her own practice, The Birth Nurse, said she understands why some families have hesitations.

Many pregnant women fear backlash for making either decision.

“Pregnant people are under the microscope,” said Irby. “There’s not enough information to make a really confident decision either way.”

Virginia Tech epidemiology research scientist Dr. Rachel Silverman said although there’s little research on the safety of the vaccine during pregnancy, those studies are ongoing and current research doesn’t show negative outcomes.

“Given that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, the vaccine is definitely a good option for women, especially if they’re likely to be exposed,” said Silverman.

“Pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and death,” according to the CDC.

Carilion Clinic OBGYN Dr. Jaclyn Nunziato, who just had a baby herself, said the vaccine can help mothers and their babies build antibodies to protect themselves from the virus.

“The risk of getting COVID-19 while your pregnant far outweigh the risks of this vaccine,” said Dr. Nunziato.

10 News’ own news director Margaret Ashburn and her husband are expecting their first child this summer. After doing research and talking with her doctor, she decided getting the vaccine is the right decision for her and her son.

“I want to do whatever I can to protect him now while he’s in my belly and even down the road,” said Ashburn.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the vaccine doesn’t contain the live virus, so it won’t infect pregnant women or their babies. The vaccine also can’t cause any genetic changes.

No matter what women decide, health experts recommend talking with their doctors to weigh the benefits, risks, and potential exposure in order to do what’s best for their family.

“You get all the information you can and then you just make the best decision for you and your family with the information that you have now,” said Irby.

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