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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Doctor weighs in as pregnant women face COVID-19 vaccine decision

She's been encouraging her patients to weigh risk benefits such as the risk of having a severe disease from COVID-19 versus the risk of the vaccine.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Data shows pregnant women who develop COVID-19 are at an increased risk.

They have made a lot of tough choices during the pandemic and now that COVID-19 vaccines are available they're now facing one more.

One Tennessee doctor believes the risks associated with getting COVID-19 while pregnant could be much worse than the risks of the vaccine.

"I think it's really important when we think of risk benefits of the vaccine to realize pregnancy in and of itself increases someone's risk of having severe infection," said Dr. Jennifer Thompson with Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

She's been encouraging her patients to weigh risk benefits such as the risk of having a severe disease from COVID-19 versus the risk of the vaccine.

"The CDC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine all recommend that pregnant women be offered the vaccine," she said. 

While pregnant women were excluded from the trials, Thompson said there were a few women enrolled who did not know they were pregnant at the time. 

"We have not seen adverse outcomes both for maternal or fetal effects," she said. 

Thompson has conversations like these everyday. 

"I've had more and more patients interested in vaccine uptake," she said. 

Thompson believes as more people get vaccinated, it will help in the decision making process. 

"I was able to get my vaccine on Friday and sharing that with patients about my experience and being willing to do that helps people be more at ease as well," she said. 

Regardless of their decision she said, women need to be supported either way. 

She also said women should consult with their healthcare provider to make the best decision for themselves. 

There's been a lot of misinformation surrounding the vaccine. Thompson said there's no data to show the vaccine is associated with infertility.