Methodist in the Media

Omaha Doctor Urges Pregnant Patients To Get COVID Vaccine

Published: Dec. 16, 2021

An Omaha doctor is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after recent data show an increased risk of stillbirth in women who contract the virus while pregnant. 

The risk for stillbirth in any pregnancy is low, at 6 in 1,000, said Emily Patel, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Methodist Hospital Perinatal Center. But a study from the Centers from the Disease Control and Prevention shows that the risk doubled to about 1.2% in women who contracted COVID. 

Between July and September, when the delta variant of the disease became dominant, the risk increased again to 2.7%. 

"It's definitely just a warning out there for mothers to take all the precautions and protect themselves against COVID," Patel said. "The best way to do that is through vaccination."

Doctors at Methodist haven't yet seen an uptick in stillbirths related to COVID. But Patel said she has heard from peers across the city and state who have started to see some additional reports of stillbirths in COVID-positive patients. 

Patel said she has seen an increase in pregnancy complications because of COVID-19, including patients who have to deliver early or who develop high blood pressure or other hypertensive disorders.

"It's been a long road over the last year, and unfortunately we have seen bad outcomes from COVID in pregnancy," Patel said. "Now that we have something that we can use to help prevent moms from getting this, I've been really trying to get as much good information out there as possible. Even if it means changing the mind of one or two women out there who might be on the fence." 

Omaha World-Herald: Omaha Doctor Urges Pregnant Patients To Get COVID Vaccine