DETROIT (WXYZ) — "She is due August 10. It is a girl. So we are very excited,” said Katie Witherspoon.
The mom-to-be is the manager of patient safety at Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte. Even with her background as a nurse, she at first didn’t know whether she should get vaccinated while pregnant.
“Because the stuff I see on social media is really scary,” she said.
So she started researching the vaccine, looking at studies involving pregnant women. She found that, statistically, the risk of not vaccinating was much greater than any risk from the vaccine. She found researchers have learned that women who get COVID-19 while pregnant have an increased risk of severe complications such as needing a ventilator or dying. Plus, their babies are more likely to be born early, increasing risks to the little one.
“If you get COVID your body is fighting so hard to keep you alive. It is hard to support that and a growing life inside of you. That is one of the things as well I didn’t want to deliver early,” said Witherspoon.
“It is not only safe to get the vaccine. If you are pregnant, it is recommended,” said Dr. Betty Chu, an OB/GYN and the Chief Quality Officer in the Henry Ford Health System.
Dr. Chu says many patients ask about miscarriages reported to The CDC by doctors and the public through the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Many people who are not medical experts have analyzed the reports and posted about them on social media. The analysis often lacks context.
“There is a lot of discussion about the fact that about 15% of women have a miscarriage in association with the timing of the vaccine. But about 15% in the general population miscarry. There is actually no difference in the people who got the vaccine and did not get the vaccine around miscarriage. I think that is really important for people to know,” said Dr. Chu.
Witherspoon says it is stressful to be pregnant during the pandemic, but she feels less stressed knowing the vaccine provides some protection. Researchers are looking into whether antibodies are passed on from the mother to the baby after vaccination, giving the baby some protection. She is hoping that it does.
“Knowing that I kept her safe while she was still in me, I am so grateful I got the vaccine,” said Witherspoon.
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