We have had many questions on Muslim Mamas regarding the Covid vaccine and pregnancy, periods and fertility. What are the guidelines for pregnant women in a pandemic in regards to the vaccine? How does the vaccine affect periods and fertility? Is it safe to have during breastfeeding?
When are pregnant women offered the COVID-19 vaccine?
- All pregnant women, those planning pregnancy, new mothers or those breastfeeding are now being offered the Covid vaccine in line with all adults aged 18 and over.
- This advice is based on data from the United States where around 120,000 pregnant women have received their vaccination without any safety concerns being identified.
Muslim Mamas held a live clinic with Dr. Kiran Rahim and Narjice Basaran, both of whom are pregnant and professional women. Dr. Kiran has taken the COVID-19 vaccine whereas Narjice, a long-standing MM member, is undecided. This honest and frank conversation airs those anxieties and unpacks the benefits of being vaccinated against not being vaccinated. Dr. Kiran answers live questions from the floor. You can view this below.
Dr. Kiran Rahim is a London-based doctor in the NHS and mum to two boys.
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She is on Instagram as @themunchingmedic where she shares her thoughts about all things related to womanhood, motherhood and life as a working Muslim mum. She is a passionate advocate for child and feminine health, health in black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and supporting women to pursue higher education and leadership roles.
Narjice Basaran – Managing Director of eSecta an all-female UK Marketing Agency.
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On Instagram & Facebook as @hijabiinthecity. Narjice is a Londoner now living in Solihull. She advocates for women in business, managing a range of online brands. Training and consulting business owners and influencers. She’s a mother of one with a second on the way and a quiet member of Muslim Mamas for nearly a decade.
Here are some frequently asked questions with regards to the COVID-19 Vaccine and female reproductive health (fertility), pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Muslim Mamas COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
Many mamas in our group are currently pregnant, are they able to have the vaccine?
- The JCVI advises that all pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population.
Are there any studies into the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnant women to show the benefits?
- The first COVID-19 vaccine study in the UK to recruit pregnant women has been launched by the National Institute of Health Research sites.
- The study aims to further understand the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in healthy pregnant women, with approximately 235 volunteers involved throughout the UK.
What are the practical steps for a pregnant woman booking their COVID-19 vaccine?
- Pregnant women can book their COVID-19 vaccination online via the National Booking System.
- You can also call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
- During the booking process, there is an option to select if you are pregnant. This is to make sure the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine is offered, which is preferable as these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any issues.
- Pregnant women can also speak to their maternity team, practice nurse or GP surgery to discuss booking a vaccine appointment, so that it can be arranged at a site offering the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine.
Can women who are trying to conceive have the vaccine?
- The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said that women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.
- If you are offered the vaccine, getting vaccinated before pregnancy can help prevent COVID-19 infection and its serious consequences.
A lot of women have really bad period pains. Would the COVID-19 vaccine have negative side effects on women’s menstrual cycles?
- Anecdotally some women seem to be reporting heavier periods after receiving the COVID vaccine.
- It’s important to remember these side effects are mild and should not deter women from having the vaccine when they are called.
- Many women will experience a temporary change in their periods from time to time during their lives.
- And right now, many women in their 30s are having the COVID vaccine, so it seems inevitable that in some women these two events will coincide by chance.
- If, however, these changes persist, or you have any new vaginal bleeding after the menopause, you should see your doctor.
Reporting side effects
A mother or anyone really might be scared of developing a reaction to the vaccine, what should they do if that happens!
- Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. These are usually mild and do not last long.
- Very common side effects in the first day or two after your vaccine include: pain or tenderness in your arm where you had your injection, feeling tired and headaches, aches and chills.
- You may also have flu like symptoms and experiences episodes of shivering or shaking for a day or two.
- If you develop a fever (your temperature is 38C or above) you can rest and take paracetamol, which is safe in pregnancy.
- You can report any suspected side effects through the Yellow Card scheme, which allows the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to monitor side effects and ensure vaccines are safe.
- If you are concerned about your symptoms, you can contact your GP, practice nurse or maternity team for further advice.
COVID-19 vaccination programme essential leaflets for all people being offered the COVID-19 vaccination:
COVID-19 vaccination guide to Phase 2 for adults
What to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination leaflet
COVID-19 guide to vaccination and blood clotting leaflet
Public Health England has produced advice in a range of formats for pregnant, breastfeeding and women of childbearing age.
Information from other trusted resources
- The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has prepared this information sheet to help pregnant women who are eligible for and have been offered vaccination make an informed choice.
- Royal College of Midwives guidance for midwives and nursing staff on the vaccination
- RCOG Q&As on COVID-19 vaccination, pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection in Pregnancy (RCOG and RCM report)
- British Fertility Society advice on the COVID-19 vaccine
Call for maternity staff to get the vaccine: The Royal College of Midwives – Take the call, get the jab | Facebook
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