The various stages of trials of all COVID-19 vaccines available in the world haven't been done on pregnant women but prominent organisations like the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) have given a thumbs up for the pregnant women and lactating mothers to go ahead with the jabs. Dr Vidya V Bhat answers some of the most commonly asked questions and doubts that pregnant women have on the topic. Bhat is a Laproscopic Surgeon and Fertility Specialist, Medical director of Radhakrishna Multispeciality Hospital and IVF Center, Bengaluru.
Q. Can pregnant women take COVID-19 vaccine? Which is the preferred one?
A. They should take the vaccine. Any available vaccine approved by the government of India and WHO is thoroughly tested and is safe.
Q. In which trimester should a pregnant lady take vaccine?
A. A pregnant can take the vaccine during her first, second or third trimester. There is no reason why she should be kept away from a protection she deserves. Also, if skeptical, pregnant women can avoid the jab in first trimester as several women will have nausea and other sickness already and vaccines also induce side effects in some.
Q. What are the side effects to pregnant women after taking the jab?
A. The side effects from vaccine are not life threatening and they are same for everyone, either pregnant or not. Few people may complain of nausea, vomiting, body ache and mild fever. All these are treatable symptoms and pregnant ladies should consult their gynecologists before taking medications for these.
Q. Can a breastfeeding mother take vaccine?
A. Yes, there is no data suggesting harm to the mother or the child through the milk from vaccine. Hence, it is suggested for the breastfeeding mother to take the vaccine when their turn comes.
Q. After how many days/weeks of delivering the baby can the mother take vaccine?
A. Just wait until you go home and the wounds heal. This will take one to two weeks and you can go for vaccine soon after that.
Q. If a woman is undergoing IVF procedure, can she take vaccine?
A. Definitely. If a woman is on any stage of IVF procedure, she can take the vaccination. The vaccine doesn't affect the procedure in any way.
Basically, vaccine is a safe shield that pregnant women and lactating mothers should have access to. There is no reason for them to withhold from this. Pregnant women constitute of over 5% of Indian population, lactating mothers add to it. There is no data on the adverse life threatening effects of vaccine on the mother, fetus or the baby from around the world. So, moms and moms-to-be can get the jab and safeguard themselves and their bundle of joy. There's no risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, embryonic or congenital anomalies, feotal growth or developmental issues related to administration of vaccine during pregnancy.