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Pregnant women and COVID-19 vaccines: When is the best time to get vaccinated?

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday that new data confirms the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for expecting moms, urging all who haven't received their shot to get it.

Recently Amy Ortega became a new mom again when she delivered her third child, Caleb, at 6 pounds and 11 1/2 ounces. But before having Caleb, Ortega faced a callous decision.

After witnessing people pass away from COVID-19, Ortega decided to research the vaccine's possible impact on her new baby. After consulting with her doctor, Ortega decided to get vaccinated nearly 14 weeks into her pregnancy.

"I figured once I cleared the first trimester if I did make the decision to get the vaccine, that it would be a lot safer," Ortega said. "Once, I was in the second trimester. "

Dr. Jeselle Mathews, an obstetrician, and gynecologist with 30 years of experience consulting nursing mothers in the Rio Grande Valley, says Ortega made the right decision.

"Since the newborns and pre-adolescence are not eligible for the vaccine," Mathews said. "You're providing that newborn child with antibodies that they would not have otherwise."

According to a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 84 pregnant and 31 lactating women who were all fully vaccinated against COVID-19 demonstrated "protective immunity to newborns through breast milk and the placenta" with rare to no side effects.

Mathews says by getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant new moms are "adding the best layer of protection that you can possibly add."

As for baby Caleb, Ortega says he hasn't shown any signs of side effects from the vaccine, but he's already beginning to show a big personality.

Mathews encourages nursing or pregnant women to talk to the doctors to find out the best time to get vaccinated.

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