Preliminary new findings on the coronavirus vaccine and pregnancy could help expecting mothers make up their minds about whether to get the shot. Two pediatricians from Florida wrote a paper detailing the case of a vaccinated pregnant woman whose baby had protective antibodies against the virus at birth.
The doctors explained that back in January, a healthcare worker on the front lines of the pandemic received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at 36 weeks pregnant. Three weeks later, she went on to deliver a healthy baby girl. Researchers took a sample from the baby's cord blood in order to test whether antibodies passed from mother to child—something we already know happens with the flu and Tdap vaccines, according to the CDC.
Turns out, coronavirus antibodies were indeed detectable in the baby's blood.
Interestingly, those antibodies showed up after the mom had received just one dose of her Moderna vaccine. She didn't receive the second shot until a week after giving birth, in line with the 28 day recommended spacing between doses.
Those findings may make pregnant moms who are on the fence about getting vaccinated feel more confident about doing so—but there are some caveats to be aware of. The paper has not yet been peer-reviewed, which means it needs more evaluation and study before definitive conclusions can be drawn. The doctors involved also stressed that their case is just one among many thousands of pregnant women who have received their Covid-19 vaccine thus far. But there's no doubt it's a good sign, and another similar study outside the U.S. echoes the findings.
In Israel, doctors tested the blood of 40 newborns whose mothers had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. All 40 babies had antibodies as well. Doctors there say they believe it's more evidence of the need for pregnant women to get vaccinated—something that was initially not recommended until the World Health Organization changed its guidance back in January.
Pregnant women are now included in the priority vaccine groups outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as pregnancy is said to increase the risk for becoming severely ill with Covid-19. As always, the best course of action is to talk with your doctor to figure out what's right for you and your baby.