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UPMC And Allegheny Health Network Seeing Increase In Pregnant Women Hospitalized With COVID-19

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Doctors at UPMC and Allegheny Health Network said they've recently seen a rise in pregnant women being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Doctors say those being hospitalized are mostly unvaccinated. In fact, doctors say five women were admitted to West Penn Hospital in the past month with severe cases of the coronavirus. They're concerned those numbers could keep rising if people don't get the vaccine.

Haylie Kelly considers herself one of the lucky ones.

"Just grateful I could recover," Kelly said.

She tested positive for COVID-19 last month and has since recovered, mostly.

"I still don't have my senses back fully, which is unfortunate, being pregnant. They're slowly coming back. It's a process," Kelly said.

Kelly's son is due later this month. It's the second pregnancy she'll have during the pandemic. Her daughter is now one.

Kelly has yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"When the vaccines came out, I was newly pregnant. There wasn't a lot of research to my liking," Kelly said. "When FDA approval came out, I was so far along. I might get it after I give birth and am done breastfeeding."

However, doctors at both AHN and UPMC say she should get it now.

"We have excellent safety data out from more than 125,000 pregnant women in the U.S. and more than 200,000 in the U.K. that COVID vaccination during pregnancy is safe," said Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist at AHN Michael Aziz.

Both health systems are seeing an uptick in pregnant women being hospitalized and in outpatient clinics.

"Pregnant women are getting sick. They're being admitted to the ICU, needing advanced respiratory support, things like ventilator care," said Executive Vice Chair for Obstetrics at UPMC Magee Women's Hospital Dr. Hyagriv Simhan.

For Kelly, she said she will keep following her gut until the decision to get the shot feels right.

"If the timing works out between the next pregnancy, God willing, maybe I'll be vaccinated. But it if doesn't, I probably won't get it," Kelly said.

Doctors stress that getting the shot at any point during pregnancy or post-partum is important.

If you do get COVID-19, doctors urge patients to call their doctor and see if they're a candidate for monoclonal antibody treatments. They said these types of treatments are safe for pregnant women and can help prevent coronavirus from becoming severe.

Doctors say another concern is flu season. They say COVID-19 on top of the flu is never a good mix, which only puts pregnant women more at risk. This is why they urge everyone who hasn't done so to get both shots.


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