SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19 delta variant is causing a heartbreaking trend in San Antonio hospitals for some pregnant women who are not vaccinated and are hospitalized in the intensive care unit.
And in one case, the result was tragic, with a mother-to-be losing her child, said Dr. Patrick Ramsey, Chief Maternal Fetal Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.
This loss puts an exclamation point to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging for all pregnant women and their families to get vaccinated, especially now that the delta variant is proving especially tough on pregnant women. Instead of a mild form of the virus, for some reason the delta mutation attacks with a vengeance and puts the baby at high risk of pre-term birth or death.
“It’s very tough, very tough, and these decisions are going on every day in our unit and around the city and around the state and around the country,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said it’s mission critical to get unvaccinated expectant moms and their families protected. Ramsey admits the new COVID-19 crisis was unexpected and it’s putting vulnerable lives at risk like never before.
“The cases we’ve seen where mom has lost the baby have been where mom is so critically ill that it’s not even safe for her to deliver. And we’re trying to preserve mom’s life first priority,” Ramsey said. “And unfortunately, sometimes we’re not able to save the baby in those cases, especially if it’s really, really early in pregnancy.”
It’s a heartbreaking development, which is being described as being out of control at the moment. While surges in the spring and summer of 2020 did affect a number of local women who were hospitalized during their pregnancies, this newest surge is different.
“So, this is certainly a major shift from what we’ve seen with the previous surges we had,” Ramsey said, adding that while pregnant women don’t have a greater predisposition to get COVID-19, they have the potential to get severely ill. Ramsey said that of the hundred thousand or so pregnant women who have been vaccinated, there have been no major concerns.
There are also no known long-term effects on a newborn from a COVID-19-affected pregnancy, and the babies stand to receive important antibodies from their mother at birth. The antibodies are believed to protect the baby for the first three months of life.
The CDC is now strongly recommending all pregnant women who have not been vaccinated do so immediately, noting only 23% have received even one dose.
For more information about the benefits of the vaccine for pregnant women, click here.
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