Pregnant women have the option to be vaccinated for COVID-19, but Salt Lake City doctors don’t have a blanket recommendation on whether they should.
“The good news is that pregnant women do have a choice about this,” said Torri Metz, an OB-GYN and associate professor with University of Utah Health.
Metz says the decision is personal and she could support women either way.
“It’s really a risk/benefit discussion with patients right now,” she said.
Not everyone’s risks are equal.
Haley Bento is 28 weeks pregnant with her first child, a boy. A physical therapist at University Hospital, she’s exposed to COVID at work.
“I’m absolutely planning on getting this vaccine as soon as I am able to,” she said.
Metz said women who are pregnant are more likely than their non-pregnant peers to need the intensive care unit — or even die — if they contract COVID-19.
Being in the hospital, I’ve seen what COVID can do to people, and that scares me more than some potential side effects from the vaccine,” Bento said.
Andrea Garavito Martinez, also expecting a boy, is able to work from home in Salt Lake City and minimize her exposure. But she’d like to get the vaccine, if it’s possible.
“Definitely something that I am going to discuss with my own doctor,” she said.
Her mind is made up, but she’s not without reservations.
“I know there’s not enough research or testing being done on pregnant women,” she said.
Pfizer did not test the vaccine on pregnant women, so Metz can’t guarantee its safety. But she’s also reasonably confident it wouldn’t have adverse effects on a pregnancy.
The way that it works is really in those cells that are right at the vaccination site,” Metz said. “So we don’t have a reason to think that this vaccine would cross the placenta or cause any problems for the pregnancy itself.”