January 28, 2022
Experts Answer YOUR Questions
on COVID-19 Vaccines
Topic: Pregnancy, Fertility
and COVID-19 Vaccines
Nathan Boonstra, MD, UnityPoint Health, Blank Children's Pediatrics
Today's Experts:

Nathan Boonstra, MD, UnityPoint Health, Blank Children’s Pediatrics and Dr. Tom Mouser, Chief Medical Director, EveryStep

Dr. Tom Mouser, Chief Medical Director, EveryStep
Question:  I’m pregnant and regardless of what I hear about the vaccine’s safety to our baby and me, I’m too afraid to risk it.

Dr. Boonstra: It’s common wisdom to avoid any medication during pregnancy that isn’t absolutely necessary so I can see where you are coming from. As a pediatrician, there’s nothing I want more than healthy babies, which is why I’m so invested in making sure parents know how to support healthy pregnancies. And at this point, we have an abundance of information that shows that not only is COVID vaccine safe in pregnancy, it’s associated with *better* outcomes for mother and baby. That’s why it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The real risk is with COVID, which causes increased risk of hospitalization and death in pregnant people, as well as premature births and stillbirths. Here is one of the more recent studies on this. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7047e1.htm  

Dr. Mouser: Sadly, age matched women who are pregnant are at much higher risk of morbidity and mortality (severe sickness and even death) to non-pregnant peers. That is because a woman's immune system is not as strong during pregnancy to protect her growing child from inadvertent attack from her own immune system. Severe illness from COVID can increase a woman's personal risk and risk to their growing child. COVID infection in pregnancy is associated with preterm delivery and even loss of the child.
Question: I’ve heard the vaccine causes infertility and I want to have children.

Dr. Boonstra: With this one, I have to be a little blunt. While the myocarditis concern that I responded to in the last issue is real, though rare, the fertility concern is rumor and just doesn’t have a realistic basis in any way. A friend of mine wrote this fairly technical review of that myth, but the upshot of it is that there is no scientific basis for it. Nobody would want to run that risk for our kids, but there really is no such risk.

Dr. Mouser: COVID-19 has not been linked in any way to infertility nor have any of the vaccines. None of the vaccines have been linked to infertility or miscarriage. If there was any validity to claims that antibodies to COVID spike protein attacked placental tissue there would be a huge spike in miscarriage and infertility worldwide over the last two years, as every person who gets COVID-19 develops antibodies to the spike protein to get over the virus.  
Experts will answer YOUR vaccine questions in weekly e-newsletters.
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Register Now for this "live" virtual program
presented by Dr. Nathan Boonstra

"How to Talk About Vaccines and Keep Your Friends"
February 22, 2022 from 5 - 6 p.m.
To register for the program, please click here.

Program Description:
Iowa Immunizes Coalition chair and Blank Hospital pediatrician Dr. Nathan Boonstra will be presenting on how to talk to your friends (peers/colleagues/family) about vaccines without losing them! Nathan has been a vaccine advocate for many years and has lots of lessons learned to share with us on how to deal with questions about vaccines effectively.

Dr. Nathan Boonstra is a General Pediatrician at Blank Children’s Pediatric Clinic in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Boonstra attended medical school at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and completed his pediatric training at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Dr. Boonstra is involved with projects to improve vaccination rates around the state of Iowa as well as on a national level, and has a special interest in using social media to dispel myths surrounding pediatric vaccinations. In 2014, he received the Childhood Immunization Champion Award for the state of Iowa from the CDC, and in 2015 was recognized by the Iowa Department of Public Health with an Immunization Champion Award of Excellence. Dr. Boonstra chairs the state immunization coalition Iowa Immunizes, as well as the immunization committee of the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Boonstra lives in Urbandale, Iowa with his wife and two boys, and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog

This program is made possible through
a partnership of Iowa CareGivers and Iowa Immunizes