Mid-South doctor weighs in as CDC urges pregnant women to get vaccinated

Memphis, Tenn. — The CDC is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated because it reported the highest number of deaths last month.

In August, 22 expecting mothers died in the hospital.

RELATED: Family urging children to get vaccinated after pregnant teen dies from COVID-19

Nicole Kowalke decided to get vaccinated because she wanted to have peace of mind, knowing she is protecting her baby as much as she can.

“I felt that I was making the best choice for my own health and that of my unborn child to get the vaccination and I’m really happy that I did,” said Kowalke.

Kowalke is 7-and-a-half months pregnant.

At first, she was hesitant about getting vaccinated but quickly changed her mind once she talked to her OBGYN.

She said hearing the stories about pregnant women dying or losing their babies was another motivating factor.

“It’s awful, it makes me sick to my stomach when I hear those stories, and it’s further confirmation and encouragement to other pregnant women,” said Kowalke.

RELATED: Woman gives birth to healthy son but dies of coronavirus before she can hold him

While Kowalke feels at peace, doctors like Jacques Samson are seeing the negative consequences of mothers who decided not to get vaccinated.

“To see them struggling just to breathe and knowing the possibility of a bad outcome. It is pretty tough to take in every day,” said Dr. Samson.

RELATED: COVID amongst unvaccinated pregnant women a concern for Mississippi State Department of Health

Dr. Samson is the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Baptist Medical Group.

He wants to emphasize, if you are pregnant you are more at risk of severe COVID-19 infection or death.

He said expecting mothers sick with COVID-19 can also experience miscarriages, pre-term birth, or cause long-term health issues in the baby.

“What breaks my heart is to see patients who delivered and never got a chance to meet their baby and dying. That is heartbreaking,” said Dr. Samson.

Dr. Samson and Nicole urge other mothers to get vaccinated as soon as possible to not only save your life but your baby’s life too.

“It was 100 percent worth it to have this peace of mind now for the remainder of my pregnancy and pass the antibodies on to my babies,” said Kowalke.

Dr. Samson said you can pass the antibodies from the vaccine to your baby in the womb and also from breastfeeding.

Right now, the CDC reports only 31 percent of pregnant people are vaccinated.