NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Another grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt doctors are treating a record number of pregnant women suffering from the virus. A local obstetrician is urging pregnant women to pay attention to the troubling trend.
“We had approximately 39 pregnant patients admitted with COVID in the last month and of those, ten patients required ICU care,” explains Dr. Jennifer Thompson an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt.
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Thompson said many of the patients who are young, healthy, and unvaccinated thought if they did contract COVID, they wouldn’t need hospitalization.
“Unfortunately, we do know that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe and critical disease,” said Dr. Thompson. “We’re seeing young and healthy women end up with severe disease needing to have mechanical ventilation and be put on ECMO.”
And in some cases, the baby doesn’t survive.
“We know one of the risks associated with severe COVID is increase risk of pregnancy loss, both stillbirth and miscarriage. And unfortunately, we have seen that among our patients.”
The most frequent question Dr. Thompson receives from patients is, will the vaccine harm my baby?
“The vaccine doesn’t cross the placenta. Baby isn’t impacted by any of the actual vaccine. What baby does get though is the antibodies that your body makes. Those can cross the placenta and help provide protection to baby after baby is born,” Dr. Thompson said.
She also says, despite misinformation circulating on social media, the COVID-19 vaccine does not increase the chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, or birth defects.
“Multiple studies have shown that there’s no difference between those outcomes in people who have received the vaccine compared to what are historical rates of those in pregnancy in general.”
And according to Dr. Thompson, the vaccine is safe to receive during any month of pregnancy. If you have questions, it’s always best to consult your doctor.