Pregnant women who receive a coronavirus vaccine not only acquire protective antibodies against the virus for themselves but also may pass along immunity to their babies, emerging research shows.
Several preliminary studies suggest that women who received an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) during pregnancy had COVID-19 antibodies in their umbilical cord blood. Another study also detected antibodies in their breastmilk, indicating that at least some immunity could be transferred to babies both before and after birth.
Brenna Hughes, vice chair for obstetrics and quality at Duke University, said several recent preprints, which are papers that have not yet been peer-reviewed, are “the first to show what we had hoped would be true, which is that these vaccines could be potentially protective through antibodies passed on to the fetus.”
“So worries about possible risk and harm may be proven quite the opposite. In fact, it may be proven that the vaccines actually provide protection to the developing fetus,” said Hughes, who is also co-chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ covid-19 task force. She was not involved in the studies.