Why I Chose to Get Vaccinated as a Pregnant Lady

 

I’ll preface this post with the following: It wasn’t an easy decision, it wasn’t one I made lightly or without serious internal (and external) debate, and not one-size-fits-all. The choice to take an emergency use vaccine without much in the way of safety data isn’t one any mother-to-be wants to be forced to make, but every pregnant woman in America is right now faced with this decision. I wanted to share my thought process, in case it might help someone else with theirs.

Initially, I had no intention to get the vaccine. I want to see data, I don’t want to be data. That changed when news started emerging about how variants were hitting pregnant women. News sources that I trust, traditional ones, Jewish community sources of news, and individual sources I’ve utilized within healthcare systems, were saying the same thing: Hospital beds were filling up with a lot of pregnant women, and they were in worse condition than they had been at any point in the pandemic. Anecdotally, I was hearing the same (this is a friend’s sister-in-law).

Talking it over with my own midwife (who is fully vaccinated) and doctors I trust, the consensus was overwhelming: There are no known dangers from the vaccine, but plenty of known dangers from the virus. Given the choice between them, they felt that the safest plan was to get the vaccine.

Data is starting to emerge about the vaccine and pregnant women, and so far, so good:

There has also been research released about babies born with COVID antibodies to women who were vaccinated while pregnant. It’s the same idea behind why the recommendation is for pregnant women to get a TDaP shot during every pregnancy, because the vaccine gives immunity to the baby.

Ultimately, only time will tell if my decision was the prudent one or not. But I’m relieved to know that I’m protected not only from the (albeit minuscule) possibility of death, but also from the chance I might spend time hospitalized while pregnant (I’ve only barely escaped hospitalization with stomach viruses while pregnant, I don’t pregnant well). If I tested positive at the time of labor, I would have been opening a whole other Pandora’s box that might have included prolonged separation from the baby, a highly medicalized birth, and a prolonged stay in the hospital for monitoring.

As we come to know more about the virus and the vaccine, hopefully other pregnant women will have an easier time deciding their best course of action. I’ll close with a final recommendation for women making the same decision I did: I’ve found Emily Oster, a data-loving economist at Brown University focused on parenting issues, to be one of the most level-headed prognosticators on COVID from the start, and she is also the author of the only book about pregnancy that I recommend, again, based on data. Dr. Oster is the author of a fantastic and informative (and free) SubStack newsletter, wherein she often sends information about the vaccine, COVID in general, and pregnancy. I highly recommend signing up and keeping up with her evidence-based, sane, and rational takes on parenting, especially during these times.

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  1. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    I’m about over 21 weeks pregnant and my husband and I just reached the same conclusion. Similar to @bethanymandel I was pretty set against it at first, being unsure of the new, mostly unknown entity for pregnant ladies. But talking with my doctor, my husband and reading that story (Bethany posted it on Twitter a while back), decided to get the vaccine for my safety and that of my baby. My husband is fully vaccinated & I go for my first shot at the VA on Saturday. Thanks for writing what I was thinking!

    • #1
  2. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Mazel tov to both of you!

    • #2
  3. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    But pregnant people (from the tweet)??

    Ugh.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Definitely a tough decision . . . 

    Oh, and congratulations to you and Jenna!

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’m impressed (and not at all surprised) that you and Jenna thought long and hard about this decision, reviewed the data and consulted others in the process. You set a great example for those women who struggle with decisions about the vaccine, especially those who are pregnant. Thanks for your sharing your process and wisdom.

    • #5
  6. Bethany Mandel Editor
    Bethany Mandel
    @bethanymandel

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I’m impressed (and not at all surprised) that you and Jenna thought long and hard about this decision, reviewed the data and consulted others in the process. You set a great example for those women who struggle with decisions about the vaccine, especially those who are pregnant. Thanks for your sharing your process and wisdom.

    That’s so kind, thank you!

    • #6
  7. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential
    @GLDIII

    I for one am glad to see some yough couples making good use of their enforced time together at home. Personally I was hoping for a Covid baby boom.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    More reassurance for @bethanymandel:

    https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/virus-outbreak-vaccination-in-pregnancy/2021/04/21/id/1018529/

    • #8
  9. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    “I want to see data, I don’t want to be data.”

    I like this.

    I’m still seeing.

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Nice post, Bethany. I actually wondered about it, during the editor podcast the other day, when you mentioned that you’d been vaccinated. I’m generally pro-vaccine but disinterested, myself, but my daughter (21) got her second shot today. I’m experiencing only a tiny bit of parental concern about it (still being worried about pretty much every other aspect of her college life).

    Very best wishes to you and the new addition.

    • #10