PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) -- CDC data shows many pregnant women are still reluctant to get vaccinated, even though they’re more likely to get very sick or have childbirth issues if they get COVID.

They also have a 70% higher risk of death from COVID.

"As the physician that cares for you during your pregnancy, I care very much that you and your baby have a good outcome," Dr. Amy Hermesch, Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician at OHSU, said. "Pregnant women who do contract COVID-19, especially those who are unvaccinated, are at higher risk of developing severe disease, higher risk of being admitted to the ICU, needing support like ECMO, and they’re at a 70 percent increased risk of death."

Dr. Hermesch said they are seeing more pregnant women coming in with COVID as cases rise, and even though the Omicron variant does tend to cause a little bit milder disease than previous COVID variants, she said it can still cause severe illness, including in pregnant women.

OHSU doctor explains risks of COVID-19 with pregnancy, encourages pregnant women to get vaccinated

Image: KPTV

"Every patient that I see, I encourage them to get the COVID vaccine because it is, based on the data we have available which is a lot of data, it is safe and it does reduce the risk of getting COVID and it reduces the risk of when you do have it, you don’t get as sick and that’s better for you and better for the baby," she said.

But according to CDC data, pregnant women in the U.S. are still more vaccine hesitant than the general public, with just over 40 percent of pregnant people 18 to 49 fully vaccinated against COVID, compared to more than 70 percent of all people 18 and up fully vaccinated.

"I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there both on social media forums and anecdotal stories from people so really I think it’s hard when you hear a lot of different information. I would encourage women to really trust their healthcare providers," Dr. Hermesch said.

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