ASHLEY COUNTY, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) 8/17/21 — Doctors are encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated as coronavirus cases increase across the nation.
“The delta variant changed the whole face of the pandemic. I have more patients with Covid now today than I did last winter,” Dr. Kara Worley said.
Not only are these expectant mothers contracting the virus but Doctor Worley, an OBGYN in Ashley County, says they are experiencing severe illnesses because of the new variant.
“The women are really sick. The only underlying risk issue for any of my patients is that they are pregnant,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how much they weigh, what underlying conditions they have.”
The virus was also a concern for Rachel Hayes who is 34 weeks pregnant.
The day she and her husband found out they would be first time parents their hearts were filled with joy and excitement but as the coronavirus and the delta variant ramped up across the state, worry began to consume them.
“I really had to sit down and think about it and pray about it and make that choice,” Hayes said.
That choice was getting the vaccine. Hayes is now just days away from receiving her second dose.
“She has just done the single most important thing to protect herself and her baby,” Dr. Worley said.
But a month ago, Hayes says she wasn’t so sure.
“I think the biggest concern for me was the talk about infertility. Another thing was not knowing what could happen to my baby,” she said.
Dr. Worley says its concerns she hears about all the time from her patients, much of which is stemmed from social media.
The CDC has reported it’s not only safe but important for pregnant women to get the vaccine.
“We have the data and we are still trying to convince women,” Dr. Worley said.
Expectant women run a higher risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications from the including perhaps miscarriages and stillbirths.
Their vaccination rates are low, with only about 23% having received at least one dose, according to CDC data.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
“The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people,’’ CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
Hayes said it wasn’t an easy decision getting the vaccine but she knew it was an important one.
“People that I know are pregnant right now. A couple of them have covid and it just really hit home and it was like that could happen to me tomorrow,” she said.
Now, she’s hoping to encourage other expectant mothers before it’s too late.
“Talk to those health care professionals. They are seeing it everyday,” she said.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding visit this link.