No Connection Exists Between the COVID Vaccine and Premature Birth or Stillbirth.

A recent study published in BMJ found that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant did not raise the risk of problems such a premature birth or stillbirth.

According to the study’s authors, the findings may aid people in making informed choices about the advantages and disadvantages of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant.

Deshayne Fell, PhD, a researcher at the CHEO Research Institute at the University of Ottawa and the study’s lead author, says in a statement that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm birth, very preterm birth, small-for-gestational-age at birth, or stillbirth.

The researcher states that the study’s findings “offer more data for healthcare professionals and expectant mothers about the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.”

Pregnancy problems, such as premature birth and stillbirth, as well as hospitalisation and mortality, have been associated with greater odds of COVID-19 infection. The COVID-19 vaccine is beneficial against infection throughout pregnancy, including for neonates, according to prior research.

Fell and colleagues identified all liveborn and stillborn newborns with a gestational age of at least 20 weeks or a birth weight of at least 1 pound between May and December 2021 by using data from the BORN Ontario birth registration, the provincial birth registry housed at CHEO. They connected the data to Ontario’s COVID-19 immunisation database, COVaxON.

The age of the mother at delivery, the mother’s prepregnancy BMI, reported smoking or substance use during pregnancy, preexisting health conditions, the number of prior live births or stillbirths, the mother’s location of residence, and income were just a few of the variables that the researchers examined.

43,000 of the more than 85,000 births occurred in pregnant women who had received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. 99.7% or more people received the Pfizer or Moderna shots. Two thirds received two doses, with a third receiving just one during pregnancy.

Mothers who had COVID-19 during pregnancy gave birth to about 3,300 babies (or 3.9%); this figure was lower in the group that had received the vaccine than the unprotected group, at 2.9% versus 4.9%.

Pregnant women who received vaccinations had a higher likelihood of being 30 years old or older, residing in areas with the highest incomes, and giving birth to their first child. Additionally, they were less likely to reside in a rural location, report using drugs or alcohol while pregnant, or be smokers.

3,450 spontaneous preterm births were among the 5,719 total preterm births that took place.

The study team discovered that receiving vaccinations while pregnant was not associated with a higher risk of problems. Approximately 6.5% of preterm births (before 37 weeks) occurred among moms who had received the vaccination, as opposed to 6.9% among mothers who had not. Additionally, 0.25% of stillbirths occurred among moms who had had their vaccination, compared to 0.44% of mothers who had not.

Additionally, they discovered that vaccinated mothers experienced 3.7% of spontaneous preterm births compared to 4.4% of vaccinated mothers. Approximately 0.59 percent of very preterm newborns (before 32 weeks) were delivered by moms who had received the vaccine, versus 0.89 percent by mothers who had not.

Low birth weight also showed no increase. In comparison to unvaccinated women, who had a 9.2% rate of small-for-gestational-age infants, moms who had received the vaccine had a 9.1% rate.

No matter which trimester of pregnancy the vaccine was administered, how many doses were given, or which vaccine was given, the results were consistent.

The effects of COVID-19 vaccination before pregnancy and around the time of conception, as well as pregnancy outcomes connected to COVID-19 vaccines other than the Pfizer and Moderna injections, are other unresolved issues that should be examined in future studies, according to the researchers.

For pregnant people, healthcare professionals, and policymakers, “pregnancy-specific safety information concerning COVID-19 immunisation is vital to influence decision-making,” they write.

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