Women’s health and the COVID-19 vaccine

Do you have questions about vaccine safety because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding? Maybe you have fertility-related questions or concerns about how the vaccine affects mammogram results.

For most people, getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you’re eligible is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any potential risks. We compiled some frequently asked questions specific to women’s health that we hope will help you make a decision that’s right for you.

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?

A: While there is no data on safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women, multiple societies including American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine suggest it should be offered to pregnant women. If you are part of a group (e.g., healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and are pregnant, you may choose to be vaccinated. Please review this statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and this statement from the Society for Maternal-Fetal for more information.

Q: Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?

A: While there is no data on safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion, multiple societies including American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine suggest it should be offered to breastfeeding women. If you are part of a group (e.g., healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and are breastfeeding, you may choose to be vaccinated. Please review this statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and this statement from the Society for Maternal-Fetal for more information.

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I plan to become pregnant soon?

A: If you're trying to get pregnant now or hope to get pregnant in the future, you may still receive a COVID-19 vaccine. There is currently no evidence the vaccines cause fertility problems. The CDC doesn’t recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination. You also do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines for side effects and will report additional data as it becomes available.

Q: Why can the COVID-19 vaccine cause false positives on mammograms, and should I be worried?

A: One potential side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine is swollen lymph nodes on the side of the body where you received your shot. This is a normal, temporary immune response, but it can lead to unclear mammogram results. As a result, the Society of Breast Imaging recommends you delay breast cancer screenings for four to six weeks after getting your second dose. You may also choose to schedule a mammogram before you get your first dose.

 


 

Next steps

The choice is yours to make. If you have additional questions before you make a decision, please talk to your healthcare provider.

We also encourage you to: