NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Pregnant women in Louisiana are now eligible to take the COVID-19 vaccine. A nurse practitioner, with a baby on the way, tells Fox 8 about her experience and why she chose to take the shots. Brittany Pearson works every day with nephrology patients.
She said she was overjoyed with the news that she and her husband would be expecting their second child but nervous about the pandemic.
“When I found out that I was pregnant I just tried to do everything that I could, making sure that I didn’t contract the virus,” she says.
By August when she knew she was expecting the evidence of an added risk during pregnancy from Covid was beginning to show up. “One of the things that all the reports were showing was that there was actually an increased risk of preterm labor if you had Covid. There’s also more blood clots that were starting to happen,” said Pearson.
As a health care provider, Pearson became eligible for the vaccine in December and received her first shot on Christmas Eve.
“I’ve had both shots. I had my first shot at 24 weeks gestation and my second one at 27 weeks. Actually, I feel more protected now,” she says.
Chair of Maternal-Fetal Medicine with Ochsner Health System Dr. Joseph Biggio deals with the question of vaccine safety for expectant mothers regularly.
“Certainly it’s natural for any pregnant woman to be concerned that anything that they’re going to be exposed to might have some potential harm for their unborn child,” Biggio says. “But all of the information that we have to date about the COVID vaccine suggests that there’s not any harm to the unborn baby or any effects on that baby after their birth.”
As is common with any new medication, studies are usually not performed during pregnancy.
“While the initial studies that were done didn’t include pregnant women there were a few women who ended up getting pregnant once they were enrolled in the study and those women had no problems,” he says.
Pearson says she worked with her doctors to make an informed decision.
“I discussed it with my OB and we both came to the conclusion that the benefits of getting the vaccine clearly outweighed the risks of actually contracting covid during pregnancy,” she says.
She sees benefits beyond pregnancy in the hopes that some antibodies will be passed to her baby. She also said protecting herself also protects her patients, friends, and family.
“The biggest thing, too, it’s not only just protecting myself and my baby, but also I deal with a high-risk patient population and I also have some relatives that are older,” she says.
Biggio said more than 20,000 pregnant women have taken the COVID-19 vaccine since it became available in December with no reported problems.
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