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July 22, 2024

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Vaccine Hesitancy

What to Know About Vaccine Hesitancy in Pregnancy

Getting four vaccines during pregnancy can feel like a lot, but they are recommended to protect you and your baby.

When you’re pregnant, you’re hyper aware of what you put in your body. So naturally, you may be hesitant about new, recommended vaccines or boosters. After all, there have been a lot of them. Take COVID-19, for instance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with COVID boosters and this includes pregnant women. While experts give it all the green light, some pregnant women are experiencing vaccine hesitancy.

What to Know About Vaccine Hesitancy in Pregnancy

Data from a 2023 Vaccine Safety Datalink research survey showed that about 73 percent of women did not get a COVID-19 booster before or during pregnancy. Yet COVID infection during pregnancy is linked to increased rates of preeclampsia, preterm birth and stillbirth.
Β  Β  β€œWe know pregnancy increases your risk for more severe COVID-19,” says Jennifer Thompson, M.D., an an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a specialist in high-risk pregnancy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “So if you’re considering pregnancy we would recommend getting the vaccine.”  Β 
Β  Β  Currently, three other immunizations besides COVID are recommended to pregnant women: RSV, influenza and Tdap. These vaccines are widely available and will help to protect your newborn AND you.
Data from a 2023 research survey showed that about half of pregnant women did not get a flu or Tdap vaccine during the 2023 flu season. The survey also found that vaccine hesitancy during pregnancy increased between 2019-20 and 2022-23. Vaccine hesitancy in pregnant women is a unique issue. A pregnant mother may view concern for vaccination through either a parental lens: having concern for the vaccine’s impact on the health of the unborn baby; and/or through a personal lens: having concern for the vaccine’s impact on her own health

Β  Β  The instinct to question what you put in your body is a good one, experts say β€” it’s protective mothering. But if you’re experiencing vaccine fatigue, you should thoroughly discuss your concerns with your doctor. Why decline vaccines that can protect you and your infant from diseases? Your doctor can help you to become well informed amid a sea of misinformation in order to make a good decision for you and Baby.

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About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.