OBGYN explains why expectant mothers are now struggling with COVID

Dr. Pamela Snook says she ‘150% wouldn’t hesitate’ to get the vaccine if she were pregnant

Doctors say there has been an increase in severe Covid-19 cases in pregnant women. In August, a Brevard County mother died from COVID-19 days after giving birth.

Obstetrician Dr. Pamela Snook with Contemporary Women’s Care talked about the growing threat to pregnant women with News 6 anchor Matt Austin on Florida’s Fourth Estate.

Snook says the delta variant has really changed things. 

“Where we thought we were four to six weeks ago with COVID, we thought we were in a place where things were getting so much better, numbers were coming down... and suddenly we found ourselves in a place where I knew we were getting into somewhere where we didn’t want to be...”

Before the delta variant, Snook said pregnant women thought if they were young and healthy and caught the virus they would be fine.

 “Now we are realizing that was not the best decision based on what we are seeing,” Snook said.

She says the further women get along in their pregnancy, the uterus starts pushing up on the lungs, making it harder to breathe. If you add a weakened immune system and COVID-19 to the situation she says things can go from bad to worse, quickly. 

“They are also immunocompromised, so their immune system isn’t strong enough to fight this virus off effectively. And, so that is why we are seeing so many pre-term deliveries because it is an effort to try and get that weight off their respiratory status back to baseline as an effort to help them recover but in exchange for that we are seeing many more pre-term deliveries and the consequences of that on these tiny babies” Snook said.

She is recommending pregnant women get vaccinated. 

“We are seeing that if they are vaccinated, they may still get infected, but they aren’t getting hospitalized they are doing well as long as they are vaccinated,” Snook explained.

She also said not to worry that getting a vaccine will impact your ability to have children in the future.

“The myth of infertility that was going and coinciding with this vaccination has been totally debunked,” Snook said.

Matt asked what those conversations look like with her patients.

She said a large majority, about 75% of her patients, are open to talking about getting vaccinated, but “these last four weeks have been really tough and having this conversation over and over and over again in a day.”

However, having these conversations and educating her patients is important to their health.

She says part of the conversations and emails focus on myth-busting and giving statistics like, “1 in 4 intubated patients as of 2 weeks ago were pregnant in our local ICU’s.”

She says it has really helped people to see the benefit of getting vaccinated.

Snook has two sons and said if she were pregnant with one of them if she would be getting the vaccine.

“150% wouldn’t hesitate, would run to get it, run, pregnant 36 weeks imagine what that would look like,” she said.

Can pregnant women get monoclonal antibodies? A local OB/GYN gives us the facts.

Snook says the pandemic has also impacted patients’ in unexpected ways. She recalled a situation where a patient had a miscarriage. She was set to have a procedure done, but she was not vaccinated and tested positive for Covid-19, so her procedure was canceled, and she ended up back in the ER and needed a blood transfusion.

Matt also asked if pregnant women who get COVID-19 should seek monoclonal antibody treatment.

Snook said it is OK to get the treatment during pregnancy. But her fear is “that this gets misconstrued or misconceived as a viable treatment in lieu of a vaccine and the message is not that ... The message is please get vaccinated and if you are a candidate for monoclonal antibodies then we can discuss that in the event of an infection when it is there.”

To hear more from Snook download Florida’s Fourth Estate from wherever you listen to podcasts.

Florida’s Fourth Estate looks at everything from swampy politics to a fragile environment and even the crazy headlines that make Florida the craziest state in the Union.

Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin use decades of experience as journalists to dissect the headlines that impact Florida. Each week they have a guest host who helps give an irreverent look at the issues impacting the Sunshine State. Big influencers, like Attorney John Morgan, renowned Florida journalists and the scientists protecting Florida’s ecosystem, can often be found as guests.

About the Author:

Tiffany produces the 4:30 p.m. newscast and has been with News 6 since January 2019. She also produces Florida's Fourth Estate podcast. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in radio/TV. Tiffany has lived in Central Florida since 2004 and has covered the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman trials and several hurricanes.