COVID vaccines do not damage placenta in pregnant women, Northwestern study finds

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the COVID vaccine was rolled out during the last few months, there were several unknowns about how it affects pregnant women and their unborn babies.

But there's some encouraging news for pregnant women who might be hesitant to get their shots. Researchers at Northwestern University said they found evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for moms and their unborn babies.

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"What the results said is we don't see any evidence of damage to the placenta that was done after vaccination," said Dr. Jeffery Goldstein, co-author of the study.

The study involved 200 patients who delivered their babies at Prentice Women's Hospital, and included 116 who were unvaccinated and 84 who were vaccinated with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines during their 3rd trimester. Goldstein focused on the placenta because it is the first organ to form and a good indicator of problems.

"I like to think of the placenta as sort of a black box, if something goes wrong we can look at the placenta and hopefully tell what it will present in the future," Goldstein said.

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Researchers didn't have a choice but to collect their own data through studies because pregnant and lactating women were left out of the original COVID-19 vaccine trials. Another Northwestern study last month showed that the vaccine actually helps babies before birth and after.

"Even though the vaccine is not approved for an individual who is only 6 months old, if the mother gets vaccinated and she is lactating, she could transfer those antibodies to the child," said Dr. Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, Northwestern Medicine.

Doctors hope all the positive studies will give more pregnant women the confidence to get the vaccine.
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