Kaiser Permanente

Doctor Concerned About Severity of COVID-19 Sickness In Pregnant Patients

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Dr. Katie Piacquadio is worried about the trend she's seeing in her pregnant COVID-19 patients at Kaiser Permanente.

“I think all of us that are doing OB are very concerned because I'm seeing people getting sicker quicker, and it seems in the beginning that it's a milder disease, but then 10 or 11 days later they're in here with severe respiratory symptoms," Dr. Piacquadio said.

The maternal-fetal specialist said those severe respiratory symptoms in mothers end up impacting pregnancies.

“We’ve been fortunate we haven’t had any stillbirths. But we have delivered moms early because of respiratory compromise, or we have had moms that have been discharged from the hospital considered recovered and then they come in and they deliver prematurely,” said Dr. Piacquadio

The solution is getting the vaccine, according to Dr. Piacquadio. But according to a CDC report, through May 8, only 11% of pregnant women in the US were fully vaccinated, even though they're at increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19.

The hesitancy also comes despite the fact that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, which both provide guidance for obstetricians, found the vaccine to be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

"The antibodies that the mother makes in response to the vaccine do cross the placenta and help protect the fetus when it's born, protects the baby and it does cross into breast milk. So those antibodies will help the baby when it's born," explained Dr. Piacquadio. “For those people trying to get pregnant, there are also studies that show that it does not affect your fertility, so it is not going to prevent you from getting pregnant."

The CDC has also issued guidance saying, “If you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. And If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talk to your doctor.”

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