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Intermountain Doctor Discusses COVID-19 Vaccines & Pregnant Women

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As more research becomes available about COVID-19 and pregnant women, many women who are pregnant have questions about whether to get the vaccine.

Dr. Sean Esplin, medical director of women’s health at Intermountain Healthcare, addressed concerns women might have, saying they are better off with the vaccine than without.

“I’m more comfortable the risk to the baby is actually maybe not as high as we were worried about initially,” Esplin said.

Esplin said more than 50,000 women who are pregnant have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Those women are being followed closely and to this point, there are no concerns.

He also said studies show pregnant women are more protected with the vaccine than if you got the actual infection.

“We are finding that people that become infected during pregnancy can actually have a little bit more severe course than someone who is not pregnant,” Esplin said. “So if you’re pregnant, you have a higher chance of needing help breathing because your lungs can be more infected.”

Another question pregnant women have is when during pregnancy should they get vaccinated. Esplin said the earlier you can get the vaccine, the better.

“There isn’t anything that says there is a best time. There is nothing that says do not do it in the first trimester the second or the third,” he said. “I actually think the earlier in the pregnancy is better it gives you a chance to develop the immune response and actually give more protection to your baby.”

As for getting the vaccine during breastfeeding, Esplin said if you should get it before you are discharged if you have not received the vaccine during pregnancy. He said it is not going to impact your breastfeeding and harm the baby.

As for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Esplin said more women got blood clots than men, but so far, they have not seen a problem with pregnant women and that vaccine.

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