Pregnant women should not be afraid of the COVID-19 vaccine but should instead worry about the risk of contracting the virus, a NSW obstetrician says.
COVID-19 in pregnant women doubles the risk of stillbirth and also increases the likelihood of having a premature birth, Gauthami Bhagwanani told reporters on Wednesday.
Dr Bhagwanani is the birthing unit director at Liverpool Hospital, where she has been caring for pregnant women sick with the virus.
She described having to deliver babies pre-term because their mothers were unwell and being forced to separate newborns from their parents.
A new mother herself, the doctor said pregnant women should get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
"I understand the concept of COVID vaccination can be concerning to some," she said.
But the technology behind the vaccines had been around for 10 years and the safety of the vaccines during pregnancy had been studied extensively, she said.
More than 100,000 pregnant women have taken part in studies in the US and the UK.
They show the vaccines do not pose a risk to an unborn baby and do not increase the risk of miscarriage or abnormalities.
They do not affect fertility, Dr Bhagwanani said.
"What poses the greatest risk to women and their babies is not the vaccine. It is the COVID-19 infection itself," she said.
Those who are nursing babies should also get the vaccine, including AstraZeneca, and they can pass on protective antibodies to their babies.