'You're not alone': Pregnant doctor's advice to other moms about taking COVID-19 vaccine

People who are high risk and elderly are starting to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. They're part of the next group that's set to get vaccinated.

Pregnant women are also part of the next group called group 1B. The problem is there isn't much data concerning how the vaccine affects pregnant women, since they were not included in the large 30,000 participant vaccine trials.

This is something Dr. Jacqueline Parchem, a maternal-fetal medicine physician with UTHealth, said she has been thinking a lot about.

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"As a frontline health care worker in the labor and delivery unit, you know, we are constantly in contact with patients who are COVID-19 positive. So the exposure risk, infection risk is high," said Parchem.

On top of that, Parchem is pregnant herself, which only increased her anxiety. While the vaccine has been a welcomed relief for health care workers, the data for pregnant women isn't there.

"None of the clinical trials included pregnant or lactating women or children under 12. So really we don't have the efficacy and safety data for those groups of people that we would hope to have had when we're making the decision," said Parchem.

SEE ALSO: When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available for kids and will it be safe?

When the vaccine arrived in Houston, Parchem had a choice to make.

"I sort of asked myself, 'If I don't get it now and then I get COVID-19, will I regret it? Will I regret having passed on the opportunity for a really effective vaccine?'" she said.

The answer for her was yes. At 31 weeks, Parchem got the vaccine. While it was the best decision for her, she knows it's not an easy one.

She has advice for other moms-to-be.

"You're not alone. Nobody is making this decision lightly. So the best thing to do is talk with your trusted health care professional," she said.

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