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Vaccination while pregnant: 'The benefits far outweigh the potential risk'

The CDC encourages those who are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant and breastfeeding to get vaccinated; one medical expert shares part of her experience.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — "The CDC, along with every single major health organization for women's health a cog, the organization for general OB-GYN the organization for high-risk OB-GYN organization for fertility specialists, all are now strongly recommending that pregnant women are vaccinated," said Jessica Grayson, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Otolaryngology.

Grayson is one of many doctors encouraging pregnant people to get the vaccine.

"There are too many mothers who will never meet their babies because of COVID and there are too many babies who will not meet their mom," Grayson said.

She says the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risk of getting the virus.

"This vaccine is safe, that there are no differences in pregnancy outcomes between women that are vaccinated or unvaccinated. That there is not an increased risk of miscarriage, regardless of which trimester, the patient receives the vaccine, and that we are seeing more and more severe COVID disease in our pregnant patients, the benefits of the vaccine, have been shown to outweigh the risk," said Grayson.

As of August 2021, the CDC encourages all pregnant people, people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those who are breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Grayson herself says she took the vaccine while she was pregnant.

"I got my first Pfizer vaccine on December the 18th, I was 21 weeks pregnant. And I was really excited, I gotta be honest I was just really excited to have an opportunity to keep myself and my baby safe," said Grayson. "I went into that whole process deciding both as a mom and as a physician because I did not want to put my unborn baby at risk. I did not want to leave my unborn child without a mother I did not want to leave my preschooler without a mom, because of getting COVID I didn't want my preschooler to carry with them any guilt about potentially giving COVID to mom if they got it while at school."

On the other hand, there are risks when it comes to catching covid while pregnant.

RELATED: UAB: Vaccinated or not, masking is recommended in many cases

"Another recent study showed an almost 60% increase in the rate of preterm birth among pregnant women that are affected with COVID," said Audra Williams, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

When deciding what's best for you, health professionals advise talking to a health care provider you trust.

"I spoke with my OBGYN who I trust very much, and she felt very strongly that I should move forward with vaccination and so at 21-weeks-pregnant, I received my first dose of Pfizer," said Grayson.

Being able to get vaccinated while pregnant was a huge deal to Grayson.

"It was a Friday and it was the best Friday of my 34 years of life, with the exception of my wedding date and the birth of my children," said Grayson.

Alongside a sore arm and headache, she experienced a normal pregnancy.

"The rest of my pregnancy went off without a hitch. I had no issues, no medical problems, had a standard delivery with no complications," said Grayson.

She knows others who have had similar experiences; getting vaccinated and having no issue with their pregnancy.

"I have many friends who are not pregnant at that time who got vaccinated and have become pregnant since then," said Grayson.

RELATED: ADPH urges pregnant women to get COVID vaccine

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