An interesting study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Shimabukuro and others dated April 21st 2021 researches this issue.  

They argue that many pregnant women in the United States had received the mRNA vaccines such as the Pfizer or Moderna but there was little data on their safety within pregnancy.  

Out of a total of 35,691 participants aged between16-54 years of age, identified as pregnant, the most common reported side effect was injection site pain and this was more frequently reported amongst pregnant women than non-pregnant women.

Headache, myalgia, chills and fever were reported less frequently.  

Out of 3,958 participants, 827 had a completed pregnancy of which 115-13.9% resulted in pregnancy loss and 712-86.1% resulted in a live birth and these were mostly amongst participants with vaccination in the third trimester.

Adverse neo-natal outcomes included preterm birth in 9.4% and small size for gestational age in 3.2%.  There were no neo-natal deaths reported.  

Their findings suggested that the calculated proportions of adverse pregnancy and neo-natal outcomes in persons vaccinated against COVID-19 who had a completed pregnancy were similar to incidence reported in studies involving pregnant women that were conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Clearly, further studies are required and The London General Practice refers all patients to review the government guidelines on vaccination and pregnancy.  

It commends the government on its vaccination programme and encourages all those who are applicable to be vaccinated.

Dr Paul Ettlinger
BM, DRCOG, FRCGP, FRIPH, DOccMed

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