‘Pregnancy in and of itself is a risk factor’: Baptist Health doctor, CDC urge pregnant women get vaccinated

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“We figured out that pregnancy in and of itself is a risk factor, you know, in that big long list of risk factors,” said Dr. Agatha Critchfield, Baptist Health Maternal Fetal Medicine. (John Fitzhugh)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The CDC is strongly recommending pregnant women get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The organization sent out the urgent recommendation on Wednesday. More and more pregnant women are getting sick because of the virus.

“At this point, we are very comfortable giving the COVID vaccine during pregnancy,” said Dr. Agatha Critchfield, Baptist Health Maternal Fetal Medicine.

Dr. Critchfield says more women should be comfortable taking it.

The CDC released a study along with its urgent recommendation that showed only 31% of pregnant women are fully vaccinated, and that’s led to more than 22,000 pregnant women hospitalized with COVID and 161 dead.

97% of those hospitalized were unvaccinated, according to the report.

“We figured out that pregnancy in and of itself is a risk factor, you know, in that big long list of risk factors,” Dr. Critchfield said.

Dr. Critchfield says early in the vaccine rollout data wasn’t there to determine how the vaccine would affect soon-to-be mothers and their children.

Now, it is.

“There are over 40,000 pregnant, reported pregnant woman who had received the vaccine. There’s no increased concern about pregnancy specific complications to those vaccines,” Dr. Critchfield said. “What we have seen complications with, is COVID.”

Dr. Critchfield says that while data doesn’t show a direct COVID transmission from mom to child, there is data that shows serious COVID cases could cause babies to be born prematurely.

In Dr. Critchfield’s opinion, the vaccine is safe and mothers should make sure they get their shots.

“It doesn’t matter what trimester you’re in, so you could be 5 weeks pregnant, you could be 36 weeks pregnant and get the vaccine. We’ve just not seen complications,” Dr. Critchfield said.

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