No increased risk of birth defects after Covid vaccination during pregnancy, study finds

top line

Vaccination against Covid-19 during pregnancy says there is no increased risk of birth defects detectable by ultrasound, according to a new study JAMA Pediatricscontributing to a body of research demonstrating the safety and benefits of vaccination during pregnancy for both mother and child.

Important facts

According to the peer-reviewed study of 2,622 pregnant women who received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy, vaccination during pregnancy “was not associated with any congenital anomaly detectable by ultrasound”.

Serious abnormalities in the fetus – such as the baby’s heart not forming properly or the spine not closing properly – were detected by ultrasound in those who received the vaccine (4.2%) and those who were not vaccinated (5.1% %), found with similar frequency.

Rates for vaccinated and unvaccinated mothers were consistent with baseline and similar as the gestational window for vaccination narrowed to the early parts of pregnancy, when abnormalities are most likely to form.

The results are consistent with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which show no increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects after vaccination, said Dr. Emily Miller, director of obstetrics at Northwestern Medicine and one of the authors of the study.

Crucial quote

“Patients say, ‘I don’t think the data is good and everyone gets Covid anyway, so why would I abandon my baby?'” said the study’s first author, Dr. Rachel Ruderman, a fourth-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Then I tell people, ‘Actually, the data is really good,’ and I feel like they’re receptive. So these results will only add to that.”

key background

Planned and cautious, pregnant women were routinely excluded from the early large trials testing Covid-19 vaccines, and the lack of information meant many regulators offered mixed or changing guidance on whether they should get vaccinated . These results help in part to fill this gap and contribute to what is now an overwhelming body of evidence supporting the safety and benefits of vaccination during pregnancy for both mother and child. Pregnant women infected with Covid are at much higher risk of serious illness and death, give birth much earlier and are more likely to suffer serious complications during pregnancy. In contrast, studies have repeatedly shown the safety of vaccination during pregnancy and lactation, even passing protective antibodies to the child.

Further reading

Covid-19 increases risk of pregnancy complications – including death around birth, premature birth and postpartum bleeding – study finds (Forbes)

Covid infection more than doubles risk of serious pregnancy complications – including sepsis, blood clots and premature birth – study finds (Forbes)

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