The Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance regarding pregnant and breastfeeding women Wednesday. The agency now recommends they get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The recommendation said data suggests the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
A Saint Luke's nurse and mother hopes the recommendation, along with her story, will motivate more pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated.
As a health care worker, Mary Williams knows first-hand that COVID-19 is relentless.
Even though a vaccine was not available to her when she first got pregnant, she decided she would get one in her second trimester.
Just before getting her first dose, Williams contracted COVID-19.
"That experience of being sick was so frightening," Williams said. "I was just at the end of my first trimester and I couldn’t eat, I was losing weight, I couldn’t breathe."
Williams received a vaccine as soon as she could after recovering. She delivered her newborn baby boy, Henry, several weeks ago and wants other women to see they are both doing great.
"My pregnancy went well, my delivery was good and he's perfect, so the vaccine was safe for me and more importantly safe for him," Williams said.
Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommended all pregnant women should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The two organizations stated the vaccines are safe to be used during pregnancy, based on evidence from thousands of people who were pregnant that got the shot.
As the delta variant surges around the region, doctors say pregnant women are at a heightened risk for COVID-19 complications.
Dr. Kristen Wootton, medical director for the Women's and Children's Division at Saint Luke's Hospital, is encouraging all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or may become pregnant to get vaccinated.
"The increase in numbers is scary, and we are seeing more and more pregnant women who are being admitted to the hospital, who are having ICU admissions more so than we have at any particular time in this pandemic," Wootton said.
Williams hopes stories like hers will help give other pregnant women peace of mind.
"We experienced a healthy pregnancy, and now we have a perfectly beautiful, healthy newborn," Williams said.