In this May 7, 2020, file photo, a pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves holds her belly as she waits in line for groceries at St. Mary's Church in Waltham, Massachusetts. Credit: Charles Krupa / AP

MINNEAPOLIS — A research study based on data from Bloomington, Minnesota-based HealthPartners and medical centers across the country finds that pregnant women who received COVID-19 vaccines did not experience an increased risk of miscarriage.

Doctors hope the results will prove reassuring to pregnant women who, as a group in the U.S., have been relatively slow to get vaccinated.

Researchers analyzed data from about 105,000 patients early in their pregnancies between Dec. 15, 2020, and June 28, 2021. They found that women who suffered miscarriages did not have greater odds of having received a COVID-19 vaccine compared with women with ongoing pregnancies.

The new study, which is being published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at patients who received two-dose mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.

“Our data adds to a growing body of research that should give pregnant people confidence to get vaccinated against COVID-19, if they haven’t already,” Dr. Elyse Kharbanda, senior investigator at HealthPartners Institute and lead author on the study, said. “It’s especially important for pregnant people to protect themselves against the virus because COVID-19 infections may impact them more severely and lead to birth complications.”

The report draws on data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a safety monitoring project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes HealthPartners and eight other large medical groups in the U.S. HealthPartners Institute has received $2 million from the federal government to monitor the safety of new COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women and their babies.

In June, HealthPartners was part of a national study that found pregnant women were getting vaccinated against the coronavirus at a lower rate than their nonpregnant peers. It also found the uptake was particularly low among those 18 to 24 as well as Black and Hispanic women.

Earlier this month, HealthPartners was part of another Vaccine Safety Datalink report that reviewed 6.2 million vaccine recipients and found no significantly elevated rates of conditions such as stroke or heart attack immediately following COVID-19 vaccination.

Story by Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune