MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Pregnant woman considering taking the COVID-19 vaccine might be wondering if it’s safe for them and their baby.
Monica Selander, an OBGYN at Tidelands Health, stressed that getting the vaccine is a situation individualized to each patient. She said she tells patients considering the vaccine to think about their own personal risk factors, including the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and the risk of exposure.
Pregnant women are considered at severe risk from COVID-19 for several reasons, making them now eligible for the vaccine under South Carolina’s Phase 1B vaccine rollout. Selander said pregnancy increases the risk of hospitalization in an intensive care unit or the need of a ventilator.
Selander said changes naturally occur during pregnancy that increase risk. It can include cardiovascular risks because the heart goes through a lot of changes to supply blood to the mother and the baby.
She suggests considering the side effects the vaccine may have too.
“The main one is just a fever,” Selander said. “We don’t want our pregnant patients to be very severely feveral for a prolonged amount of time, so it’s important to be counseled on using Tylenol, which is safe to keep a fever down.”
Selander said she’s seeing the infertility myth popping up more as well. She stressed it’s not true and it’s been proven false with scientific studies.
“The way this vaccine is manufactured, the way it’s made, it’s unable to enter the nucleus of a cell, which is where the genetic material - the DNA - is stored so it can’t alter DNA, it can’t change fertility, it can’t change genetics. It’s unable to do that,” she said. “It’s a scary myth for people, it’s kind of shameful it started out because this is something people hold near and dear is their fertility.”
Selander said she encourages people planning to become pregnant to actually get the vaccine before trying to start a family.
The doctor added that the vaccine hasn’t been studied in pregnancy, but based on the way it works it’s unlikely to cause harm to the mother or the baby.