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ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis doctor is deeply concerned about the huge uptick she’s seeing in pregnant women with COVID.

One BJC hospital reports it had a 5% COVID positivity rate in labor and delivery in May. Last week, it was more than 20%.

High-risk obstetrician Dr. Ebony Carter at Barnes Jewish Hospital says the rate of COVID-positive patients admitted to labor and delivery is higher now than it has been at any other point in the pandemic. Just a few weeks ago, Dr. Carter says she barely saw any COVID cases in labor and delivery. Pregnant women are now ending up in intensive care.

Mothers with COVID are not being separated from their babies after delivery unless one of them is in ICU. Only 22% of pregnant women are vaccinated. Dr. Carter says if you’re pregnant and get COVID, your chances of ending up in ICU is three times higher than if you weren’t pregnant. Your risk of needing a machine to breath for you is three times higher if you’re pregnant. Your risk of death is two times as high.

Carter says the vaccine didn’t cause that and she’s encouraging her pregnant patients to get vaccinated. The vaccine also can protect the baby upon delivery.