Expectant mothers want the best for their babies, and the newness of the COVID-19 vaccine can be daunting.
But doctors and nurses urge moms to trust the science behind the vaccines and to trust the hands-on experience of front-line workers.
Gaby Giles is both a front-line worker and a new mommy. She works as a nurse in the Brazos County area, and she gave birth three months ago. Giles said she is very thankful she received the Moderna immunization during her pregnancy – and just in time, as she had contracted COVID-19 during the waiting period between the first and second shots.
"I talked to my obstetrician afterwards and she said ‘the main thing that saved you from being very sick is because you got your first vaccine,'" Giles said.
Area experts agree that COVID-19 vaccinations are crucial for pregnant women, as the drug protects mom and baby.
"If mom’s been vaccinated, not only do the antibodies pass through the placenta, but they also continue to be excreted in breast milk," said Dr. Jessica Ehrig, maternal medical director for Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple. "So as mom’s breastfeeding, she’s continuing to protect her baby from COVID.”
Ehrig said that of all the pregnant mothers she’s seen in her ICU with COVID-19, none were fully vaccinated.
“One of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a high-risk obstetrician is delivering a momma who has no clue she’s about to deliver because she’s intubated, sedated, and paralyzed on a ventilator,” said Ehrig.
Dr. Kia Parsi, chief medical officer with St. Joseph Health in Bryan, shared that the Brazos Valley has also seen its share of tragedy.
“We have had pregnant women require a significant amount of oxygen in an ICU state," Parsi said. "And we’ve had pregnant women in the Brazos Valley ... I know of at least one case where a woman did lose her pregnancy.”
Dr. Parsi stressed that he understands the desire and need for families to ask questions, and the feelings of skepticism of emerging medicine like the vaccine. But, he personally stands behind his recommendation believing, based on firsthand experience, that vaccines are effective.
And take it from moms like Giles.
“It’s our responsibility, not only as a society but as parents, to pass on that immunity to our kids if we’re able to," Giles stated.