The Washington Post has reported that since the start of the pandemic, there have been 72 stillbirths amongst pregnant women in Mississippi. This is twice the number Mississippi health officials would expect to see.
Pregnant women are higher risk of severe illness as a result of COVID. Experts are urging people to get vaccinated, as that is the best way to try and ensure both mothers and their babies remain healthy.
The number includes fetal deaths that occurred past 20 weeks of gestation, which classifies as a stillbirth, according to the CDC. "That's quite the number of tragedies that, sadly, would be preventable right now," Dr. Dobbs said, referring to the current availability of vaccines, as the death count includes those that occurred before the shots were available. Mississippi also is investigating deaths of eight pregnant women who had COVID-19 that occurred during the last month. Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared to nonpregnant women and are at increased risk for preterm birth, according to the CDC. The agency urged pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in August, citing studies that found the shots are not tied to miscarriage. "We encourage you to please get vaccinated," said Paul Byers, MD, state epidemiologist in Mississippi.