New UC San Diego study examines COVID-19 vaccine's potential side effects in nursing moms, infants

180 women nationwide took part in the study
Posted at 11:11 PM, Sep 15, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Christina Gatto is a certified registered nurse anesthetist from Michigan and a new mother to her son, Oliver.

One day she was on Facebook and came across something that caught her eye: a study out of San Diego for nursing moms and their children.

“I saw it and was interested. Just because being in health care and going through the pandemic, being pregnant and stuff. It was just something I wanted to participate in,” Gatto said.

That studywas done by Dr. Christina Chambers and others from UC San Diego. They surveyed 180 women who have received their COVID-19 vaccinations and were nursing. The researchers were hoping to see the effects and if they were serious on the mothers and their new kids.

“Not surprisingly, we found that a very high proportion of women reported some symptoms after receiving the vaccines. Just like it’s been reported in the general population of women who are not breastfeeding,” said Chambers, a professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego.

The research showed that there were no serious side effects from the women in the study or in their newborns.

“A few mothers noticed a reduction in milk supply. So, they were producing less milk than they were before they were vaccinated. But in all cases, in those few moms, within 72 hours the milk production returned to normal,” Chambers said.

For Chambers, finding and being able to publish this information comes at an important time.

“There is a certainly a special population of pregnant and lactating women especially, have been among the most hesitant,” Chambers said.

Gatto felt her participation can be helpful for all expecting, current and future moms.

“I’m hoping that it will help mothers that are so much more at risk when they are pregnant to contract and have awful complications and death feel less nervous about the different vaccines that are available,” Gatto said.

Having information available in a time where misinformation is being seen in many places.

“So often if there isn’t information, the vacuum gets filled with whatever anybody wants to say even if it is misinformation. So, it’s important to have good, quality and rigorous data out there that can information people’s decisions,” Chambers said.

“It just reassures people that this is something that is safe, that can protect you, your child, your family,” Gatto said.

Gatto said she almost feels lucky that she is nursing because she can give him the antibodies through the breast milk knowing as he isn’t old enough to get vaccinated yet.

Researchers will next examine how long the antibodies stay in the infants that are nursing with vaccinated moms and the effectiveness of antibodies passed down through breast milk with each vaccination.