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Do Antibodies Pass On To Newborns If You Get Vaccinated While Pregnant?

Getting COVID-19 Vaccine While Pregnant

Research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that pregnant people are at a higher risk of developing severe complications and illness from the COVID-19 infection as compared to people who are not pregnant.(1, 2) A 2021 study by the CDC found that one of the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine is that newborns are born with a high level of antibodies against the novel coronavirus. At the same time, getting vaccinated did not increase the risk of infants being born underweight or of preterm birth.(3, 4, 5)

Since the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, doctors and medical experts have strongly recommended that pregnant people get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect both themselves and their newborns.

Many studies have shown that pregnant people are at a higher risk of developing severe illness along with many complications from COVID-19 as compared to people who are not pregnant.(6, 7, 8) Unvaccinated pregnant people are also more likely to experience preterm birth and have adverse birth outcomes than pregnant people who are vaccinated.(9)

Another study from the New York University (NYU) found another benefit of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Newborns whose mothers had gotten the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had high levels of antibodies.(10)

Are COVID Vaccines Safe During Pregnancy?

There have been several studies that have shown that taking the COVID-19 vaccine is perfectly safe during pregnancy.(11, 12, 13, 14) Furthermore, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also established that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe to be administered during pregnancy. The study included the health outcomes for over 40,000 pregnant women. The researchers found no connection between the COVID-19 vaccines administered and low birth weight or preterm birth. The evidence from this study further supports the effectiveness and safety of vaccination in pregnant people, as they are a group who are known to experience more severe illness and several types of birth complications if they get COVID-19 during pregnancy.(15)

How Does The COVID-19 Vaccine Protect Newborns?

Going back to the 2021 study from the New York University, the study had measured antibody levels in 36 newborns whose mothers were all administered one of the RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines (either Modern or Pfizer-BioNTech). The research team had found that all the newborns were born with high levels of antibodies.(10)

The study found that babies who were born to mothers who got vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine within 13 weeks of delivery had higher levels of antibodies when compared to newborns whose mothers got the COVID-19 vaccine more than 20 weeks before giving birth. Immunity to COVID-19 was passed on to the fetus through the umbilical cord. However, according to the researchers, more data still needs to be collected in order to understand precisely how protected these babies were and how the timing of the vaccine affected the level of immunity that got passed to the newborns.

The researchers concluded that the findings of the study added to the growing list of reasons why pregnant people should get vaccinated against COVID-19.(16)

Benefits of Getting the COVID Vaccine While Pregnant

People who are pregnant face a significantly higher risk of complications from COVID-19 as compared to those who are not pregnant.(17) During pregnancy, your state of immunity is reduced dramatically. This is why it is recommended that any pregnant person should receive the COVID vaccine during any trimester.

Several studies have shown that pregnant women who contracted the novel coronavirus infection were at a higher risk of hospitalization, preterm birth, preeclampsia, intubation, and even maternal death.(18) In recent weeks, with the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus raging and circulating through the world, pregnant people are at a dramatically higher risk of developing the COVID-19 infection, and as a result, the complications of COVID-19.

So far, it has been observed that vaccination rates amongst pregnant people have been drastically low, especially in the United States.(19, 20)

Given the high risk of pregnant people to develop severe illness and other complications from contracting COVID-19, medical experts all over the world are urging them to get vaccinated. There are many complications of COVID that can be prevented by getting the vaccine during pregnancy. In fact, evidence has also shown that both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are just as effective and safe in pregnant people as they are in the general population.(21)


A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that newborns whose mothers were administered the Moderna, or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had higher levels of antibodies as compared to newborns whose mothers did not get vaccinated. The study highlighted this important benefit of getting the COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant people. It is important to understand this as pregnant people are at a much higher risk of developing serious illness or complications from COVID-19 infection. Especially given the increased contagiousness and high spread of the Omicron variant, medical experts and health officials worldwide are urging pregnant people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Furthermore, another study also found more evidence that these vaccines are equally effective and safe for pregnant people as they are for the general population. So if you are pregnant, it is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine administered during any trimester to ensure that your newborn has high levels of antibodies against the COVID-19 infection.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022. Cases, Data, and Surveillance. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/special-populations/pregnancy-data-on-covid-19/what-cdc-is-doing.html> [Accessed 29 January 2022].
  2. Wiedermann, G., Ambrosch, F., Kollaritsch, H. and Kundi, M., 1984. Risks and benefits of vaccinations. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 5(9), pp.438-444.
  3. Song, G., 2014. Understanding public perceptions of benefits and risks of childhood vaccinations in the United States. Risk Analysis, 34(3), pp.541-555.
  4. Andreadakis, Z., Kumar, A., Román, R.G., Tollefsen, S., Saville, M. and Mayhew, S., 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape. Nature reviews. Drug discovery, 19(5), pp.305-306.
  5. Machingaidze, S. and Wiysonge, C.S., 2021. Understanding COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Nature Medicine, 27(8), pp.1338-1339.
  6. Wastnedge, E.A., Reynolds, R.M., Van Boeckel, S.R., Stock, S.J., Denison, F.C., Maybin, J.A. and Critchley, H.O., 2021. Pregnancy and COVID-19. Physiological reviews, 101(1), pp.303-318.
  7. Rasmussen, S.A., Smulian, J.C., Lednicky, J.A., Wen, T.S. and Jamieson, D.J., 2020. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and pregnancy: what obstetricians need to know. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 222(5), pp.415-426.
  8. Phoswa, W.N. and Khaliq, O.P., 2020. Is pregnancy a risk factor of COVID-19?. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 252, pp.605-609. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022. Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnant-people.html#anchor_1614967129618> [Accessed 29 January 2022].
  9. Trostle, M.E., Aguero-Rosenfeld, M.E., Roman, A.S. and Lighter, J.L., 2021. High antibody levels in cord blood from pregnant women vaccinated against COVID-19. American journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM.
  10. Bookstein Peretz, S., Regev, N., Novick, L., Nachshol, M., Goffer, E., Ben‐David, A., Asraf, K., Doolman, R., Levin, E.G., Regev Yochay, G. and Yinon, Y., 2021. Short‐term outcome of pregnant women vaccinated with BNT162b2 mRNA COVID‐19 vaccine. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 58(3), pp.450-456.
  11. Heath, P.T., Le Doare, K. and Khalil, A., 2020. Inclusion of pregnant women in COVID-19 vaccine development. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 20(9), pp.1007-1008.
  12. Beigi, R.H., Krubiner, C., Jamieson, D.J., Lyerly, A.D., Hughes, B., Riley, L., Faden, R. and Karron, R., 2021. The need for inclusion of pregnant women in COVID-19 vaccine trials. Vaccine, 39(6), p.868.
  13. Goncu Ayhan, S., Oluklu, D., Atalay, A., Menekse Beser, D., Tanacan, A., Moraloglu Tekin, O. and Sahin, D., 2021. COVID‐19 vaccine acceptance in pregnant women. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics.
  14. Lipkind, H.S., Vazquez-Benitez, G., DeSilva, M., Vesco, K.K., Ackerman-Banks, C., Zhu, J., Boyce, T.G., Daley, M.F., Fuller, C.C., Getahun, D. and Irving, S.A., 2022. Receipt of COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy and Preterm or Small-for-Gestational-Age at Birth—Eight Integrated Health Care Organizations, United States, December 15, 2020–July 22, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 71(1), p.26.
  15. NYU Langone News. 2022. Pregnant Women Who Receive COVID-19 Vaccination Pass Protection from the Virus to Their Newborns. [online] Available at: <https://nyulangone.org/news/pregnant-women-who-receive-covid-19-vaccination-pass-protection-virus-their-newborns> [Accessed 29 January 2022].
  16. Vale, A.J.M., Fernandes, A.C.L., Guzen, F.P., Pinheiro, F.I., De Azevedo, E.P. and Cobucci, R.N., 2021. Susceptibility to COVID-19 in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum period: immune system, vertical transmission, and breastfeeding. Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, 2, p.8.
  17. UMass Chan Medical School. 2022. COVID-19 vaccine benefits pregnant women and babies, UMMS faculty say. [online] Available at: <https://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2021/08/covid-19-vaccine-benefits-pregnant-women-and-babies-umms-faculty-say/> [Accessed 29 January 2022].
  18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022. COVID Data Tracker. [online] Available at: <https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations-pregnant-women> [Accessed 29 January 2022].
  19. Razzaghi, H., Meghani, M., Pingali, C., Crane, B., Naleway, A., Weintraub, E., Kenigsberg, T.Y.A., Lamias, M.J., Irving, S.A., Kauffman, T.L. and Vesco, K.K., 2021. COVID-19 vaccination coverage among pregnant women during pregnancy—eight integrated health care organizations, United States, December 14, 2020–May 8, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 70(24), p.895.
  20. Shimabukuro, T.T., Kim, S.Y., Myers, T.R., Moro, P.L., Oduyebo, T., Panagiotakopoulos, L., Marquez, P.L., Olson, C.K., Liu, R., Chang, K.T. and Ellington, S.R., 2021. Preliminary findings of mRNA Covid-19 vaccine safety in pregnant persons. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(24), pp.2273-2282.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 4, 2022

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