‘A tragedy’: COVID-19 spike in unvaccinated pregnant women

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ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — There’s a surge of expectant mothers testing positive for COVID-19 across America. Health officials are urging moms to be vaccinated, but not all are willing to roll up their sleeves.

“It’s really scary to see these patients gasping for air really trying to get better to have this happy outcome with their babies and their deliveries,” said Dr. Yvette Cordova with Jackson Health Maternal Fetal Medicine.

Some women are even dying before they get to see or hold their newborns. In Mississippi, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, said they’ve lost eight mothers in the last four weeks. Their babies all survived, but will now grow up without their mothers.

“It’s been a tragedy,” Dobbs said.

Melissa Cedeño is the happy and relieved mother of a new 10-pound, 2-ounce baby boy named Wyatt James. The new mom says she regrets not being vaccinated. Not so long ago, she wasn’t sure if either she or her baby would live to see this day.

After two miscarriages, when Cedeño got pregnant this time, she said she was reluctant to put anything in her body that might harm the baby.

“I had not been vaccinated because I was worried about what was in the vaccine and how it would affect the baby and myself and I just wasn’t sure,” she explained in a video she shared to her “mommy group.”

At 25 weeks, when she got COVID-19, she ended up in the hospital for six days.

“I ended up pumping my body and therefore the baby with everything from Tylenol, Robitussin, steroids — while I was in the hospital — anti-viral, anti clot, albuterol,” Cedeño said.

Nationwide, doctors say the delta variant is hitting pregnant women hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges all pregnant women to get vaccinated. The CDC says studies show it’s safe for both mothers and their babies. But so far, fewer than 25% of pregnant women have rolled up their sleeves.

Cedeño said she wishes she’d taken that advice. “If I could go back and do it again, I would have gotten vaccinated, the first minute it was available for me.”

Doctors said baby Wyatt is healthy and shows no ill effects of Cedeño having had COVID-19 during pregnancy. Cedeño says she plans to get vaccinated as soon as she’s able.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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