Vidant sees increase in ‘critically ill’ pregnant women with COVID


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Across the country, hospital intensive care units are filling up with pregnant women who have COVID.

It’s something many health experts said they’re shocked and horrified by. Many doctors are pushing for everyone to get COVID vaccines, including expectant mothers. They said the vaccine can even provide protection for babies through the mother’s antibodies.

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“We really, really, really are encouraging this because we want to keep people safe and we want to protect them and we want to protect their babies,” said Dr. Kerianne Crockett, an OBGYN at Vidant Medical Center.

This movement comes as hospitals are reporting more and more pregnant women severely ill with COVID. Crockett said she’s seeing these trends at Vidant.

“We’ve had a number of really critically ill patients who are pregnant and have COVID and their care is really complicated and really sad,” said Crockett.

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Even so, some mothers-to-be said they won’t be getting their COVID shots. Brandi Hill is nearly 34 weeks pregnant. She said she likely won’t get vaccinated, even after her baby is born.

“It’s just all up to what you want to do and your body, but in my opinion, I wouldn’t get it,” said Hill. “You don’t know what’s in it. You don’t know how it’s going to work and not to mention you can still get COVID even after getting the vaccine.”

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Many doctors, like Crockett, are encouraging their patients to roll up their sleeves. Crockett said pregnant women have an increased risk of complications from COVID, like blood clots or respiratory failure. These complications can lead to preterm birth or emergent delivery.

“Babies get oxygen from their mom’s blood through the placenta,” said Crockett. “That becomes really complicated when you’re trying to manage a pregnant person’s inability to exchange oxygen very well and how that trickles down to the baby.”

Crockett said the vaccine is safe for everyone. She added she and her colleagues wouldn’t encourage pregnant women to get these vaccines if they thought the shots could be harmful to mothers or their babies.

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