State health leaders urge pregnant women to get vaccinated

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 8:50 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State health leaders are urging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine after seeing more expectant mothers hospitalized with the virus this past week.

“We have had a total of seven pregnant women who have died from Covid-19,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.

State data shows that three of those deaths were in 2020 and four were in 2021.

“We actually have on average for the past week about 23 pregnant women who are hospitalized,” Harris said.

Harris said three of those moms were on ventilators this week and doctors at UAB said that’s when the virus can impact the baby.

“If a mom is not oxygenating her body well, then she is not oxygenating the baby well either,” Assistant Professor in UAB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Audra Williams said. “We do see some of those impacts and that is what sometimes requires to go a head and deliver the baby even though they may be preterm, 30 weeks or 34 weeks.”

UAB’s Dr. Audra Williams said last month, 39 unvaccinated pregnant women admitted to UAB, with 10 in the ICU.

“We are seeing more and more severe Covid disease in our pregnant patients,” Williams said.

Williams said when that many pregnant women are hospitalized with the virus, it can impact the moms that aren’t Covid positive.

“Our labor and delivery nurses are having to go over and monitor the fetal wellbeing one on one,” Williams said. “So, that leaves us less nurses to take care of our patients that are coming in for routine labor and delivery care.”

ADPH and UAB are urging the vaccine for soon to be moms at any time during pregnancy.

“We are strongly recommending that all of our pregnant patients across Alabama consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies,” Williams said. “At any point during pregnancy or even when a woman is contemplating getting pregnant, is a good time to get the vaccine.”

Officials with the state health department said monoclonal antibodies are safe for pregnant women. If you test positive, they said to reach out to your doctor to get the treatment.

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