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Prof. Asher Ornoy, a child development specialist, director of the Laboratory for the Study of Congenital Malformations at the Hebrew University, a researcher at the School of Medicine at Ariel University and former director of the Department of Child Development at the Ministry of Health, addressed the concerns over pregnant women taking the coronavirus vaccine and the potential effects on the fetus in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

Prof. Ornoy divides his answer into two parts, the treatment of the mother and the treatment of the fetus. Regarding the fetus, Ornoy says: "As far as we know, there is no data that the virus is harmful to the developing fetus. The virus passes to the fetus relatively rarely and does not cause birth defects, does not increase the risk of heart defects, or cause harm to the kidneys or nervous system. The virus can cause premature births, but even then not in a high percentage. So for the fetus there is nothing to worry about."

Ornoy notes with reference to the same low percentage of premature births with coronavirus patients that "premature births have a detrimental effect on development. When a baby is born early the damage may be higher but this risk is not high. It is usually a delay of up to a week and a half or two weeks. We do not like babies being born before week 37 because it can have harmful, though not serious, effects."

As for the effect of the vaccine on the mother, Prof. Ornoy says that here "the story is completely different," as he explains: "The mother undergoes a change in her immune system during pregnancy. The mother does not reject the fetus for many reasons, which enables the normal development of the fetus without its rejection." However, Prof. Or-Noy explains, it has become clear in recent months that the chances of the disease getting worse in pregnant women who are infected with the coronavirus are higher than in non-pregnant women, "And this is why the overarching recommendation worldwide is to get vaccinated even though they have not tested the vaccine with pregnant women, certainly if the woman has additional risks like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and so on, but even if there is no additional risk it is correct to get vaccinated and not wait after giving birth. We know that the vaccine is not supposed to cause harm to the developing fetus. We do not currently have practical knowledge, but in theory there is no expectation that the fetus will be harmed by the vaccine."

"Vaccination is possible and allowed at all stages of pregnancy and during breastfeeding," says Prof. Ornoy.

"At the moment we are only talking theoretically because there is still not enough experience and the companies developing the vaccine have not tested it on pregnant women," says Ornoy, noting that in order to reach a practical proven conclusion "we need several hundred or thousands of women to be vaccinated during pregnancy and to monitor what happens with those babies."

He also mentions that "during the polio epidemic there was a dilemma of whether to vaccinate pregnant women. We then recommended vaccinating using a dead virus and we examined the results of that vaccine and published two articles, and it turned out that there was no danger in the dead virus vaccine, which was a little more problematic than the coronavirus vaccine when compared to women who have not been vaccinated."

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