Why COVID-19 Prevention Should Be A Priority If You're Pregnant

Pregnancy is rough on the body. Growing a human is no easy feat and can take quite a toll on your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Your immune system, in particular, goes through a major adjustment during pregnancy in order to provide an ideal environment for your growing baby. However, this can potentially leave you with a higher risk of developing certain illnesses and infections (via Healthline).

"The immune system is not a monolith — instead it's a complicated system of chemicals and physical structures that are constantly adapting to our circumstances," childbirth educator and doula Sara Lyon explained to Romper. "With this in mind, think of the immune system like a switchboard. In pregnancy, and throughout, there is an ever-changing balance of suppression and enhancement that will make each woman's immune system both more vulnerable to some pathogens and less vulnerable to others." This especially rings true when it comes to COVID-19.

Pregnancy complications associated with COVID-19

Because the immune system is in a state of flux during pregnancy, this leaves pregnant people who have COVID-19 more susceptible to severe complications (via Healthline). A 2021 study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of maternal death due to an increased need for ventilation and ICU admission during pregnancy.

The health of unborn babies is at risk, too. A 2021 study published in Pathology & Laboratory Medicine found that the virus had a higher chance of attacking the placenta in pregnant people who were unvaccinated. This led to the placenta not being able to provide adequate oxygen and nutrition for the baby, which significantly increased the chances of stillbirth and neonatal death.

The best way to prevent severe COVID complications and give you and your baby your best chance at being healthy and safe is to get vaccinated. "There is a wide body of evidence demonstrating the safety of certain vaccines to both mother and baby and the potential benefits, such as conferring immunity and lowering the risk of serious disease in the neonate," reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Lucky Sekhon told Healthline. "The COVID vaccine has been approved and is encouraged in pregnant and nursing mothers."