Covid-19 and Pregnancy

808 Health

Honolulu (KHON2) – An OB/GYN weighed in on Covid-19 concerns for pregnant women and the safety of vaccines.

Dr.Heidi Purcell, Obstetrics/Gynecology from the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation- Kauai Region The Clinic at Waimea talked about COVID 19 & pregnancy on Living808.

“We know that pregnancy is an independent risk factor for severe COVID,” says Dr. Purcell. “Compared to non-pregnant women of the same age, pregnant women who are infected with COVID19 have increased rates to ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death.”

She adds that there are also pregnancy-specific risks with COVID19 infections including preterm birth, C-section, Pre-eclampsia, and possible increased risk of still birth and that underlying medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension can increase risk for COVID outcomes while pregnant.

Dr. Purcell has given the COVID19 vaccine to patients during pregnancy and says, “We have to keep in mind we KNOW COVID is dangerous in pregnancy and that has to be balanced against the potential risks of a vaccine. There is no biologically plausible reason that mRNA vaccines would be considered unsafe in pregnancy. Several national organizations unanimously recommend that COVID vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant women and that the decision to get a vaccine while pregnant should be individualized.”

Purcell adds that while safety data is limited, breastfeeding women CAN receive the vaccine, saying “COVID-fighting antibodies can cross the placenta and breast milk. This is why we think vaccination during pregnancy and lactation can potentially provide protection to a newborn.”


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