By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s limited data on the coronavirus vaccine in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Now, the largest study to date shows big potential benefits for moms and their babies.

One-hundred and thirty-one women received the MRNA COVID vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna as part of a study at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Researchers found the vaccines were highly effective in producing antibodies against COVID-19 in pregnant and lactating women.

“They also had higher antibody titers than a group of pregnant women who had natural COVID infection in pregnancy,” said Dr. Andrea Edlow, director of the Edlow Lab in the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Edlow is the senior study author and said they also found antibodies in the umbilical cord blood and in breast milk samples.

“Pregnant women can know that not only are they getting a good antibody response for themselves to protect themselves against COVID, but also they’re potentially conferring benefit to their baby. And we know that antibodies in breast milk do help prevent protect babies from respiratory infections,” said Dr. Edlow.

Christa Carrig gave birth to her son Bennett just before the pandemic. Carrig is a labor and delivery nurse in Boston, Massachusetts and she went back to work just as cases were rising.

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“I think the biggest thing that we were concerned about was would I bring this home to my baby, who I was breastfeeding, would I bring it back to my five-and-a-half-year-old or my husband,” she said.

When the vaccine became available in January, she chose to get it for herself, but also because she was still breastfeeding.

“The possibility of protection and knowing that it was very unlikely to harm made it worth it for us,” she said.

Christa took part in the study at Massachusetts General Hospital and said it’s reassuring.

“I think that will encourage even more women to continue breastfeeding as long as you can,” she said.

She takes comfort knowing she could be protecting her young son.

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Pregnant women are at higher risk for severe COVID-19. Experts say getting the vaccine is a personal decision and that expectant moms should talk with their doctors. Team