A Chicago doctor is sharing her experience with the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant in hopes of encouraging others to explore their options.
Dr. Carmen Adams, a gynecologist at Cook County Health, received the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at 36 weeks pregnant, and the second dose one week post-partum.
"I really only had just a little arm soreness, which is pretty similar to any other vaccine I’ve received," said Adams. "No fever or anything else."
Adams said receiving the vaccine was a personal choice, and it came down to weighing the risks and benefits.
"My own personal risk of being in the hospital and being pregnant, as pregnant women tend to have more risk of severe complications if they were to get COVID, as well as being an African American female being at higher risk," said Adams.
"[I was] thinking about those risks as well as the benefits of being protected from COVID, so ultimately I made the decision to get the vaccine," she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, there is limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people.
The CDC said any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. For questions about getting vaccinated, officials recommend a conversation with a healthcare provider, but it is not required.
Adams gave birth to her first child, a boy, on Jan. 12. She and the baby are both doing well.
Adams said she hopes sharing her story will encourage other mothers to talk to their doctors about their personal risks and medical history. She said it's important as an African American physician to share her experience with those who may be skeptical.
"I really wanted to show that this vaccine is safe, and I think that when women see other women getting the vaccine while pregnant, if you see people in a similar situation as you, it helps to make you feel more reassured that it’s safe and help dispel some fears," said Adams.