Doctors urge pregnant women to get vaccinated as hospitals see increase in pregnant women hospitalized

Dr. Lydia Wright, a maternal fetal medicine specialist is urging all pregnant women to get...
Dr. Lydia Wright, a maternal fetal medicine specialist is urging all pregnant women to get vaccinated.(WECT)
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 4:57 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:22 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Many expecting mothers have shied away from getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to concerns about complications they might experience during or after their pregnancy, or infertility concerns from mothers who are trying to conceive.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, there was little to no research about the effects the vaccine would have on pregnant women, or those who were planning a pregnancy, and those who recently had a baby and might be breastfeeding.

Now, research shows that getting the vaccine is a safe bet for soon-to-be or new mothers.

“I want to stress that pregnancy is a high risk time to get bad COVID, so severe COVID. So you may not have bad COVID when you’re pregnant, but there is a risk that you would get this more severe form which we’re seeing over at the hospital,” said Dr. Lydia Wright, a maternal fetal medicine specialist.

Wright said that the increase in hospitalized pregnant women is from those who are not vaccinated.

“Just know if you’re gonna be pregnant or if you are currently pregnant, you’re high-risk to get severe COVID, so please, please, please think about getting the vaccine,” Wright said. “People think it hasn’t been studied enough, and it has been studied. And we’ve looked at it carefully and over 50,000 women who have been pregnant have taken the vaccine so that’s why we feel comfortable with the information and with the vaccine itself.”

Dr. Wright said if you are thinking about getting the vaccine prior to pregnancy, it’s a smart idea so your body can build up antibodies. If you are already pregnant, the first trimester is recommended so your body can build up antibodies throughout your pregnancy, and also so those antibodies can develop in the baby.

“If people don’t feel comfortable, certainly by that second trimester they really need to think about that COVID vaccine,” Dr. Wright said. Booster doses are also recommended to continue building antibodies for both mom and baby.

“We know that women who take the vaccine actually form antibodies and then their babies start to form antibodies in utero.” said Wright. “And the antibody titer is actually passed if it’s taken early in pregnancy or pre-conceptually, so there’s no impacts for that. The flipside is there are risks if somebody gets COVID in pregnancy/”

When an expecting mother contracts COVID-19, especially during the third trimester, more complications are possible that affect not only mom, but baby, too.

“A high fever, which can be dangerous for babies forming. The second thing is their oxygen supply is low, so baby’s oxygen supply is low,” Wright said. “Babies are having to be delivered preterm, pretty small and we’ve actually had babies pass away, as well as moms, if they have COVID, particularly during the third trimester.”

Wright says the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna are recommended, but she isn’t worried if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because any of them will provide the protection you need.

“I have recommended it for my own family members and I would take it if I were in my first trimester of pregnancy,” Dr. Wright said.

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