Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Kristin Malaer, 32, is just weeks away from being a first-time mom.

"I'm 30 weeks pregnant. I'm very, very excited," said Malear.

Malaer is a social worker at the Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute. She's around patients often when she's on the job. Malaer has been weighing whether a vaccination is the right decision for her.

"I originally scheduled the vaccine, and I was nervous. So I decided I'm going to reschedule it," Malaer said. She decided to do some more research first, talking with doctors, researchers and experts for guidance.

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"As a group, we developed guidelines for discussing the various risks and benefits of vaccinating both pregnant women as well as women who are breast-feeding and even women who are considering getting pregnant," said Dr. Mark Turrentine, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine.

To help women like Malaer, Turrentine, along with 11 of his colleagues from across the country, created some guidelines. The group is part of a task force for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

"COVID-19 is dangerous, and it's more dangerous if you're a pregnant woman. Symptomatic pregnant women with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of more severe illness compared to their non-pregnant peers," he said.

While pregnant women weren't part of the vaccination trials, it's important to consider what we do know about the vaccine.

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"It's not a live virus. It doesn't contain any kind of ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or their babies and for decades, many vaccines have routinely been given during pregnancy that are safe," Turrentine said.

After reading all the research, Malaer made her choice. She got the vaccine and she says she did it for her baby.

"I am able to produce antibodies by having the vaccine, and I can pass those antibodies on to my baby," said Malear.

She recommends all moms talk to their doctors and do what they feel is best for them.

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