This is a guest article by Caroline Quat.
Pregnant during a pandemic
Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined being pregnant during a pandemic. But I was, and I had to roll with whatever was going on throughout those nine months. And let me say, (and any others pregnant during the pandemic will probably agree) that those nine months felt extra long with the threat of COVID-19 always around.
Vaccines began to roll out around the beginning of 2021, and for me, who was due mid-April 2021, I had a decision to make. Living in Washington, DC, I was eligible for a shot starting around March. To be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated: that was the question. With little concrete information available at the time on the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy, the decision wasn’t as clear as it is for other vaccines during pregnancy such as the flu shot or TDAP shot. So what did I do?
I got vaccinated. And I was enthusiastic, excited, and honored to get vaccinated while pregnant. I had no fears, and I have no regrets. And I’ll tell you why.
Supported by research
For me, the number one reason I got vaccinated was because those who researched and developed the vaccines, medical professionals like OBGYNs and others who understand pregnancy and the risks associated with it and disease during pregnancy, and other experts in the fields of epidemiology, virology, and obstetrics, overwhelmingly said that pregnant people should get the shot. They said that although pregnant people weren’t in the clinical trials, there was nothing they could point to that would suggest that the vaccine would harm neither parent nor child.
And I fully trust those people. They are experts in their fields, have spent years learning and working on behalf of the best interests of patients, and I trust them. I trust these people to do their job and do it correctly. I trust the science they have spent years learning and deciphering. That trust led me to have no hesitations in getting the vaccine.
Witnessing the tragedy of COVID-19
Another reason was that I saw how COVID-19 was destroying and ending lives. I saw how the disease destroyed even survivors’ bodies. And that scared me, especially while pregnant. I didn’t want to catch it and be at even more risk for severe disease. If severe disease could leave even the healthiest of people with lingering issues, what would it do to pregnant me? What would it do to my baby? It’s a chance I wasn’t willing to take. Like getting a flu shot, it would protect both myself and baby from this terrible illness. I could still catch it, but the vaccine would give me that extra protection and likely lessen the severity, stopping me from having to be hospitalized. I desperately wanted that protection. And as time has gone on, there are studies that point to antibodies transferring to the baby as well.
Pregnant women at higher risk
Although I got the vaccine back in March (dose 1) and April (dose 2), I’m glad I got it when I could. We’ve seen over the last few months, as the Delta variant has ravaged those unvaccinated, that pregnant people are at much higher risk for severe disease. There are so many horror stories of mothers who didn’t get to meet their babies, dying of COVID before they had the chance, or babies delivered early who didn’t survive.
A third reason I got vaccinated is because I wanted to be a part of the solution to ending this pandemic. I wanted to help protect people like me, who could have worse outcomes if infected. I saw this vaccine as a way out of this “new normal.” I wasn’t going to have a “normal” pregnancy, but I hoped others could. If I got the vaccine when I could, that would mean that others could also be getting it. The “herd immunity” could be reached, and other pregnant people wouldn’t have to go to appointments alone, wear a mask while in labor, and have guests at the hospital post-birth.
I’m so happy I got the vaccine when I could while pregnant. The benefits far outweigh the risks. , So far, my beautiful baby boy hasn’t gotten COVID-19, and neither have I. He’s thrived since birth, and he’s truly the light of my life. I worry about a lot of stuff in this world and his life, but honestly, COVID-19 is one of the things I’m less worried about – because I got vaccinated while pregnant.
If you’re on the fence, I encourage you to get it. Protect yourself. Protect your baby.
About our Guest Author: Caroline Quat
Caroline is a first-time mom to her baby boy, born in April 2021. Along with exploring DC through his eyes, she loves spending time with her dog and husband, which now includes early morning walks to grab coffee in their NoMa neighborhood. She works in healthcare policy, but her real passion is eating dessert and watching reality shows.