NEW ORLEANS — Pregnant women are more hesitant to get a COVID vaccine. They fear there is no long-term data on safety for their unborn babies, but at the same time, they are more likely to get sicker from any virus because of the changes in the immune system during pregnancy.
Dr. Robert Maupin has seen pregnant patients get COVID.
“Unfortunately, we've seen moms with extremely severe cases,” said Dr. Maupin, Division Chief, Section of Maternal/Fetal Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.
A woman who is pregnant has a three times greater chance of developing severe disease including getting on a ventilator, going to the ICU and dying of COVID, compared to women who are not pregnant.
“Unfortunately, sadly we saw an increase in premature births, but we also saw an increase in pregnancy losses including stillbirths,” he said.
But now a study of more than 40,000 pregnant women, that compared those vaccinated to those not vaccinated, gives us new insight.
“Receiving the vaccination during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters, was not associated with any increase in preterm birth, or in pregnancy loss, or any specific adverse outcome for newborns," Dr. Maupin said, citing the study.
So the CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, trying to become pregnant, and who might become pregnant in the future.
When asked if he counsels his patients to get the vaccine when they are pregnant, Dr. Maupin replied, “Absolutely. Absolutely. The moms who we have seen this year, who've had the worst cases of COVID, and who have ended up in intensive care units, have generally been those who have not had the protection of vaccination.”
So with this new information, women may feel more comfortable making the decision with their obstetricians to get a COVID vaccine.
And the doctor says another reason to get vaccinated before or during pregnancy is that the protection is passed on to the baby.