FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Doctors at Broward Health and a woman who is 37 weeks pregnant are urging all maternity patients to get vaccinated, saying it can save lives.

Lucia Pizano-Urbina, who is a Broward Health employee, married and the mother of a 6-year-old boy, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she found out she was pregnant after receiving her first dose of the Phizer vaccine.

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“I was worried of course and so I called my doctor and he told me I should get the second vaccine. It was definitely something that worried me because you don’t know how it’s going to affect you but I am so glad I got it, especially now with the Delta variant and the numbers increasing. I am really glad I got the vaccine,” she said.

“I would recommend that pregnant women get the vaccine. It is not going to affect you and your baby. You should get it to get protected because the numbers are increasing. It’s really scary. You want to be there for your baby. If you have COVID and you go into the hospital you won’t be able to see your baby immediately after having him, so get the vaccine. I get emotional when I think of being separated from your child. It’s terrible. I can’t imagine having a baby and not being able to see him. It is devastating,” she added.

The Centers for Disease Control encourages all pregnant women or those planning on having a child or those breastfeeding get vaccinated to protect against COVID-19. It is timely advice as clinicians nationwide have seen the number of pregnant women with the Coronavirus rise in the past several weeks in large part due to the highly transmissible Delta variant and the low vaccination rate among pregnant women.

Health experts urge all maternity patients to get vaccinated to help prevent miscarriages, pre-term deliveries, and other significant problems. They also say the vaccines do not cause more miscarriages or infertility.

According to the CDC, miscarriages typically occur in 11 to 16 percent of pregnancies. It said miscarriage rates after women receive the vaccine is around 13 percent. Health experts say the vaccines are safe and effective.

A CDC analysis did not find an increased risk of miscarriages among 2.500 women who were studied.

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“Only one in four pregnant women have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Last week the CDC came out with the strongest recommendation yet to say that pregnant women should be vaccinated,” said Dr. Joshua Lenchus, Broward Health’s Interim Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Sunil Kumar, the Medical Director for the Intensive Care Unit at Broward Health, said “Whether you are pregnant or not pregnant, young or old, the vaccine is the only way out of this.”

“What surprises me is the amount of pregnant women in labor who are just 25 to 30 weeks pregnant and they show up without being able to breathe and coughing and there is a lack of oxygen. When COVID hurts the lungs it can get really bad really quickly. All pregnant women should get vaccinated. We don’t want women to die. It is awful for that family. It is awful for everybody. That baby will never know his mother and this woman will never see this child. So it is so sad. This should never happen,” said Dr. Adolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, an OBGYN with Broward health.

“The worst part is that they deteriorate right after they have the baby and they are not able to hold that baby or see that baby for weeks. It is really fortunate and this is preventable,” said Kumar.

Dr. Mary-Beatrice Squire, an OBGYN with Broward Health in Coral Springs, said “Today I’d like to make a plea to all pregnant patients, patients who are considering getting pregnant, and women who are breastfeeding or lactating please get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

She spoke out about pregnant women who have the virus.

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“While some do recover at home, some do not. I have seen them deteriorate in the hospital. I have seen them diagnosed with pneumonia. I have seen them diagnosed with respiratory failure. Seeing an expectant woman who is expecting a healthy baby being unable to breathe and needing a ventilator for support and requiring ICU admission is something I have not seen with this frequency. Frankly, it is very frightening and I’m here to talk to these women and say this vaccine is very safe. The vaccines are approved as safe to receive during any trimester,” said Beatrice-Squire.

Peter D'Oench