Local OB/GYN doctor encourages patients to get vaccinated

As a physician and a parent, I would like to take a moment to speak directly and honestly about the COVID-19 vaccine and the impact the COVID-19 infection can have on a mother and baby. I know there is a lot of hesitancy among women regarding the vaccine. With all the information that we see on social media and the news, it can be very difficult for someone not only to make the decision for themselves, but also for their unborn baby. The following are the reasons why I strongly encourage my patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

We now have data that shows that the vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy. Several women’s health organizations have come out in support of getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, including American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, American College of Nurse-Midwives and many, many more national organizations.

The CDC has followed 139,000 women who have self-reported that they were pregnant when receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Through this research they have found that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. The vaccine does not cross the placenta and provides both mom and baby with COVID-19 antibodies. The most common concern among pregnant women regarding the vaccine is miscarriage. A large, randomized control study found no increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, congenital anomalies or growth restriction with the vaccine. There have also been large studies that showed no impact on future fertility.

I, as well as my practice partners, encourage all pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can. I know there are some women that are considering waiting to get the vaccine until after they deliver their baby, but I encourage them to reconsider. Getting the COVID-19 vaccination is much safer than getting a COVID infection while pregnant. Pregnancy is an independent risk factor for severe COVID infection just like the elderly have an increased risk factor, those who are obese, and individuals with diabetes.

On Aug. 11, 2021, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study from the University of California – Irvine, where 800,000 people were included, of which 18,000 were pregnant women with COVID. It showed pregnant women had the following risks with COVID-19 infection:

• 5x increased risk of ICU admission

• 14x increased risk of intubation

• 15x increased risk of death

• 40% more likely to have a preterm birth

If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine and wish to discuss it further on the phone or in person, I’m happy to visit with any patients regarding the vaccine as are my practice partners, Drs. O’Connor, Olson and Turek. Alternatively, to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy, visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist at ACOG.org.

Dr. David Ilceski is physician at UnityPoint Clinic OB/GYN


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