What You Need to Know About COVID and Breastfeeding
According to a recent study, breastfeeding women who have received the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine have a significant supply of antibodies in their breast milk that may help keep babies safe from the virus. This was determined by analyzing women’s breast milk pre-vaccine, after the first dose, and finally after the second dose. Researchers found that coronavirus antibodies present in the women’s breast milk increased after each shot. Here we cover what you need to know about COVID and breastfeeding.
In the eyes of the experts, this is a promising development, especially since children under 12 and babies currently are not eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. According to Joseph Larkin III, the senior author of the study,
“When babies are born, they have a relatively immature system. It develops over time. So, the major protections that babies receive come from mom. So, if mom is producing these antibodies that are present in the breast milk, there is the potential for that protection that Mom has to be transferred over to her baby.”
This extra layer of protection for babies is especially valuable as the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads rapidly throughout the United States. While breastfeeding can be difficult for some, getting the vaccination can also reduce the risk of transmitting the disease from mother to child.
CDC Recommends Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Get Vaccinated
Earlier in the year, the CDC announced that all people over the age of 12 should be vaccinated—including those who are pregnant, lactating and breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. There are no indications that the vaccines cause any fertility issues among men or women.
As of August 2021, less than a quarter of pregnant people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
The CDC has reported that, compared to non-pregnant people, pregnant people who aren’t vaccinated experience much more severe illness from COVID-19, which can lead to hospitalization. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth and may also be at heightened risk for other poor pregnancy outcomes.
COVID-19 Vaccinations and Fertility
If you have not yet been vaccinated, we recommend starting the vaccination process immediately—even if you’ve had COVID-19 in the past. We’re here to answer any questions you may have regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and fertility or breastfeeding.
We are committed to continue care for our patients and remain focused, as always, on providing you with individual care that centers on you. If you have more questions on what you need to know about COVID and breastfeeding or vaccines and fertility, please contact us for a free initial consultation. We are here to help.
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