The small study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, consisted of 27 women and 28 babies. (According to HealthDay, the newborns consisted of one set of twins and 26 singletons.)
The blood of those who were expecting and the umbilical cord blood was tested to see the level of antibodies present.
The new mothers proved to have high levels of antibodies in their blood, showing that they were well protected from COVID, per the study. The babies proved to have mixed results depending upon when the mothers received their vaccination.
For those women who received their vaccines early in the third trimester and completed both rounds of the vaccine, they passed along high levels of antibodies to their babies as shown by the cord blood. However, three of the babies in the study, the twins and one singleton, did not have any antibodies present. According to HealthDay, this was because the mothers did not receive their first vaccine shot until just before delivering. This led researchers to see that the sooner the vaccines were received in pregnancy, the better-protected newborns were at birth.
Currently, newborns are not eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. As such, their best line of defense from contracting the coronavirus is to receive the antibodies from their mothers. And because pregnant women are a high-risk population when it comes to getting the virus, the safest way to make that happen is for expecting women to get the vaccine.
According to the senior author of the study, Dr. Erin Miller, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, future studies will include whether vaccinating expecting women before the third trimester protects their newborns further from the virus as well as how long babies have COVID antibodies in their system after birth.
What is known is that the virus is “not going away anytime soon,” according to Dr. Miller, per Medical Xpress. As such, she and other doctors and researchers are encouraging pregnant women to get their COVID vaccine as early in pregnancy as possible to protect not only the mother-to-be but her baby as well.