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“I’m 7 months pregnant and have had three COVID vaccines. Here’s everything you need to know.”

NSW Government
Thanks to our brand partner, NSW Government

It might surprise those closest to me I was once vaccine hesitant.       

It was back in the time before Delta. Before Omicron. Many of us thought Australia had somewhat "beaten" COVID-19. 

Things had just started to get back to a sort of normality, travel by air was a thing again, my partner Charlie and I had just gotten engaged and started trying for a baby. 

Then BOOM. Delta came, New South Wales went into lockdown and two months later... we were pregnant. 

I read the advice and talked to my GP, and it shocked me to learn that pregnant women who are unvaccinated are at double the risk of needing to go to ICU, and having a pre-term delivery.

Like any other decision, my partner and I considered the risk versus reward. Our GP talked us through the facts, reviewed the information on the NSW Government website and made our appointment.

For me, the decision making came easy once I knew the risks of being unvaccinated. The best thing I could do, in my control, to protect myself and my daughter (still getting used to saying this!) during my pregnancy was to get vaccinated. 

My initial hesitancy turned to immense pride. This was the first of many decisions I’ll make as a parent.

Image: Supplied.

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At three weeks pregnant, off I went for my first COVID-19 vaccination (three days after we found out we were pregnant). Four weeks later, at seven weeks pregnant, I received my second dose of Pfizer, and then at 25 weeks pregnant had my Moderna booster.

I had minimal side effects from all three vaccinations, apart from being a little tired from my Pfizer shot, and having a tender arm for 24 hours from Moderna. I'm now triple-vaxxed and baby girl is thriving!

At this stage, I have (knock on wood) remained COVID-19 free. But I know the risk of catching the virus is still real and present. And while it’s a little daunting (no one wants to get sick while they are pregnant), I know I have done everything in my power to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its serious effects during pregnancy. 

Plus, real-world evidence has shown that Pfizer and Moderna, both safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, may even help to indirectly protect babies by transferring the antibodies our body produces through the placenta (during pregnancy) or through breastmilk (from breastfeeding). Meaning: they may have protection against COVID-19 during their most vulnerable time as babies entering into a pandemic. 

That was my own personal experience, but let's get to the latest facts, shall we?

What are the current recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy?

To get vaccinated! Australian and international health experts advise those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy to get vaccinated. Not only does getting vaccinated help protect you against COVID-19, it also helps protect your baby from complications that might arise if you become sick.

Why have the recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy changed?

Approval of COVID-19 vaccines for those people who are pregnant and breastfeeding came after the vaccines were approved for the general population. This is because conclusive data was needed to show the vaccines are safe and effective, before they were approved. 

We now know that if you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination. 

It's safe to have a COVID-19 vaccine at any time during pregnancy, to protect yourself and your baby. Therefore, you are recommended to have a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 

If you’re not vaccinated yet, or you're due for a booster, it's recommended to book an appointment as soon as you can. 

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If you’ve had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and test positive for COVID-19 while you’re pregnant, you should get a booster vaccination about a month after infection, once you have fully recovered from the virus. 

What are the risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy?

Research has shown that pregnant people have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This means that you’re at greater risk than someone who is not pregnant. 

If you're pregnant and you catch COVID-19, being vaccinated reduces your risk of severe illness, premature birth, infant distress and ICU admission, and stillbirth. 

If you're infected with COVID-19 while pregnant you have:

  • Double the risk of needing an ICU (Intensive care unit) admission

  • Increased risk of needing ventilation

  • Increased risk of requiring a pre-term delivery

What’s the best time to have a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?

Now! You can receive a vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy. 

Can you just have one dose during pregnancy, and delay the second dose?

Don’t delay! COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. Best to book your vaccination appointment as soon as you can.

You need to have your two doses and your booster to reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection by 86 per cent. And, to reduce your risk of serious illness by 98 per cent.

Image: Supplied.

What are the recommendations in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 while breastfeeding, or if you’re planning on pregnancy?

Get vaccinated! Real-world evidence shows the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

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If you're breastfeeding, you do not need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination.

If you're planning pregnancy, you do not need to avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

Image: Supplied.

So much in life and pregnancy is out of our control. In the same way that I’ve been moving my body each day, eating as well as I can and guzzling litres of water throughout my pregnancy, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 while pregnant was one of the best things I could do to help protect myself and my baby girl. 

I encourage anyone out there who is planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding to do the same, and get your COVID-19 vaccine. The best time to get vaccinated or boosted is now. 

Speak to your doctor or midwife if you have questions about being vaccinated against COVID-19.

To book your vaccination or booster, or to find a walk-in clinic near you, visit nsw.gov.au.

Speak to your doctor or midwife if you have questions about being vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Feature image: Supplied/Mamamia.

NSW Government
Reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its serious effects during pregnancy. Getting vaccinated helps to protect both you and your baby.