Health care workers at UAB (the University of Alabama at Birmingham) hospital have said that nearly seven who are pregnant have been on ventilators after falling ill with severe COVID19 disease. The delta strain that has been categorized as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been spreading rapidly in Alabama. Dr. Steve Stigler who is the chief of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UAB hospital has said that the hospital has never seen this number of pregnant women admitted to ICU ever before during the pandemic. In the month of August, there have been around 39 pregnant women who have been admitted to the hospital. None of them have been vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, said the doctors. At present, nearly 10 of these women are being treated in the intensive care unit and seven of them have been on ventilators. Hospital authorities have informed that two pregnant women have lost their life due to COVID19 at the hospital. As per the latest report, women with COVID19, who have been admitted to the intensive care unit, and some other pregnant women who have been hospitalized have delivered their babies before their due date. Health officials have said that these women have delivered their babies as early as at 26th week of their pregnancy, which is almost eleven weeks ahead of their due date of delivery.
Dr. Akila Subramaniam, who is an associate professor at the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine of UAB hospital, has said that doctors are not inducing preterm deliveries among pregnant women with COVID19, rather they are laboring before their full term as the virus is causing huge harm to these women. A recent study that has been released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well has shown that pregnant women who test positive for COVID19 are at a greater risk of delivering the baby before their full term. The study has also shown that pregnant women are at a higher risk of severe COVID19 infection as compared to women who are not pregnant. The CDC experts have clearly mentioned in the study that pregnant women who are hospitalized after being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus end up in intensive care units or need a ventilator due to breathing issues. Health officials have said that pregnant women who are diagnosed with COVID19 are at an elevated risk of poor pregnancy effects as well. The agency has advised that people who are in contact with pregnant women should be vaccinated against the virus. The CDC has said that pregnant women should consider taking COVID19 shots to avoid such issues. Dr. Victor Herrera who is the Chief Medical Officer of AdventHealth Orlando has said that it is still unclear if it is due to the delta variant but health care workers have been witnessing a higher number of pregnant women who are dealing with severe illness due to COVID19 as compared to before. Health experts from the CDC have confirmed that COVID19 shots do not lead to infertility or any disturbance in the menstrual cycle. The Society for Maternal-fetal Medicine the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well have said that COVID19 shots are safe for pregnant women.
Dr. Audra Williams, who is an associate professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of UAB hospital has said that if an expecting mother is not able to oxygenate her body well, she will not be able to oxygenate the baby well either. This issue can lead to preterm delivery. She has said that there are many risks involved with preterm delivery such as long-term neurological or gastrointestinal issues. Health officials have noted despite the surging spread of the delta strain and CDC’s recommendation; many pregnant women have been reluctant to take COVID19 shots. Alabama health care providers have said that many of their patients have been influenced by the misinformation about the shots and pregnancy circulating on social media. The CDC has reported that only 23 percent of pregnant women in the US have taken the shots so far. The Delta variant, which is dominant in the US at present, contributes to 95 percent of all COVID19 infections. Dr. Akila Subramaniam has said that pregnant women should not hesitate to take the shots as these shots have been tested on more people than any other vaccine in the world. COVID19 shots are safe for pregnant women irrespective of which trimester they are in, said the experts. These vaccines are safe for breastfeeding mothers as well. Amid surging COVID19 cases in pregnant women, the CDC has updated its new guideline for people who are at a higher risk of severe illness. The agency has advised that people who are vulnerable to severe COVID19 illness should avoid cruise ship traveling even if they are fully vaccinated. The new guideline is for elderly people, pregnant women, and those who have certain underlying medical issues. The agency has updated its guideline as the US has been reeling through the fourth wave of the pandemic. A report from the John Hopkins University has revealed that the US has reported nearly 987417 new COVID19 cases and 6037 deaths linked to COVID19 in the last week. The CDC has stated on its website that the virus can easily spread among people living in close quarters on ships. Experts have said that the possibility of being infected with the virus on a ship is quite high. Recently, many outbreaks have been reported on cruise ships even after many testing and vaccination policy.