Hawaii's second maternal death due to COVID-19 confirmed this month

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Sep. 22—Hawaii's second maternal death due to COVID-19 has been confirmed, according to a state committee that reviews them.

Dr. Stacy Tsai, chair of the Hawaii State Maternal Mortality Review Committee, confirmed that a second pregnant woman died from the coronavirus after giving birth in the state.

The second maternal death also occurred this month, not long after in the state was reported, according to Tsai. Both women suffered from severe disease due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, both of their babies survived.

Due to the highly contagious delta variant, Tsai said she is seeing more expecting mothers with COVID-19 at the hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant and recently pregnant women are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than women who are not. Also, pregnant women with COVID are at a higher risk for preterm birth.

But only about 25 % of pregnant women ages 18 to 49 nationwide as of Sept. 11 are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC data.

"Pregnant women have higher rates of being admitted to the ICU, higher rates of having to go on a ventilator, and higher rates of death, so being pregnant increases your risk of severe disease, " said Tsai, a high-risk maternal doctor who encourages her own patients to get the COVID vaccines.

When pregnant women catch COVID, the impacts can affect the baby, she said.

"If the mom can't get enough oxygen, that means the baby can't get enough oxygen, " she said. "We have also had premature deliveries."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends that all pregnant women or women planning to get pregnant get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying a growing amount of data confirms they are safe during pregnancy, and there is no evidence the vaccines cause infertility.

More information on COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant is available from CDC at this.

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