Promising new data show pregnant, nursing moms pass vaccine antibodies to babies

A senior medical editor at WebMD shared insight on some promising new data showing that pregnant and nursing mothers are passing COVID-19 antibodies to their newborns when they get vaccinated.

Dr. Neha Pathak joined us on The Morning Show and explained the studies are showing that not only are moms forming good antibody responses on their own, they are also passing those antibodies to their babies through the umbilical cord or breast milk.

Pathak said she herself was pregnant during the early stages of the pandemic last year and delivered her baby in May, so she understands the anxiety mothers are feeling about COVID.

“We know that when you get COVID and you’re pregnant, you have a higher risk for intensive care, you have a higher risk for being put on a ventilator and potentially having an early birth. Those are all things that actually put the baby at risk if you actually get an infection,” Pathak said.

But, she said, those same concerns should not spill over to the vaccine.

“What we see with the vaccine is that all of the data -- they’ve looked at thousands of pregnant women now -- there is no increased risk for pregnancy complications that they’re seeing compared to women that were not vaccinated and that they’re also seeing that the antibody response to the vaccine is just better compared to having an infection,” Pathak said.

Pathak also shared some information about studies linking male infertility to COVID-19.

“What we know is that when you have a viral infection, the high fevers that come with it can potentially cause sperm to be lower in quality during that period of the high fever,” Pathak said. “We’re seeing that in COVID. What we don’t know is how long that problem will last for men. So again, another reason to really make sure you are vaccinated and protecting yourself against getting a COVID infection.”

For more from Pathak’s interview, including why women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are at increased risk from COVID-19, watch the video at the top of this article.


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