ALABAMA (WHNT) — Hospitals in Alabama are seeing an increased amount of pregnant women with serious cases of COVID-19 as the delta variant surges across the state.
There were 51 pregnant women hospitalized in August at UAB hospital, 12 were in the ICU and two died. Most of those women were unvaccinated, according to AL.com.
“Pregnancy alone is a high-risk condition to getting more severe COVID infection,” Dr. Jennifer Thompson, associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Vanderbilt University, said.
Even though there is a heightened risk, CDC data shows only 23% of pregnant women have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.
Doctors were unsure why COVID-19 seemed to have a more serious effect on pregnant women, but they believe it could be due to shallow breathing and respiratory system stress during pregnancy, according to Dr. Akila Subramaniam, a professor of medicine at UAB.
“It’s always a risk-benefit of, what’s the benefit of continuing the pregnancy. Will delivering the baby help the mom? Will delivering help the baby and harm the mom? And so there’s always this push and pull,” Thompson said.
Dr. Thompson shows her patients the data on the safety of the vaccine for pregnancy and on the dangers of COVID-19 for pregnancy.
“We try as best we can to put those concerns at ease,” she said. “Sometimes that’s not enough for some patients,” Thompson continued.
The CDC recommended expectant mothers to get the shot in August.