MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman 27 weeks pregnant said she’s thankful to be alive after battling COVID-19 last month.
Experts say she’s like many women of color who they say are more likely to face even higher health risks if they contract the coronavirus while pregnant.
Kia Anderson said she didn’t know what to do when she found out she had the virus.
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She said it started with a cough. She was able to quarantine for 14 days instead of going to the hospital. Thankfully it wasn’t severe, but she said she fears for pregnant women dealing with far worse.
“Of course you know the wait times in the hospital are 12 hours plus, so if it was something like an emergency, then it’s like what do we do?” said Anderson.
There’s no doubt pregnancy is stressful, but Anderson says for African American women the stress level is even higher. Anderson said she found that to be true when she contracted COVID-19 in June.
“My thing is what does it mean for the baby? Does it cause birth defects? Can I have a miscarriage? So I was extremely scared,” Anderson said.
In 2018, nearly 660 women died of maternal causes in the United States. A study reveals black women had a death rate that was three times higher than white women. Experts say systemic and institutional racism within the health care system is to blame.
“I have friends that are pregnant, and they talk about their experience at the doctor’s office, and it’s not good,” said Anderson. “It’s like you can tell the difference by how we’re cared for.”
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found pregnant women who contracted COVID-19 were more likely to be hospitalized and at a greater risk of needing intensive care and mechanical ventilation than women who were not pregnant.
Moms-to-be are particularly concerned because studies show the virus is disproportionately impacting the black community.
“Give us the care that we need,” said Anderson. “Our children shouldn’t have to die. We shouldn’t have to die during birth.”
Anderson said when she was sick with COVID she was very tired and could not get out of the bed.
A study out of the United Kingdom found that more than half of the pregnant women recently admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 were women of color.
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