By Dillon Thomas

GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – Vaccinations among pregnant women in the United States are expected to increase in the coming weeks after the Centers for Disease Control officially announced their support of vaccinating expecting moms for COVID-19. Pregnant women have been allowed to receive their vaccines for months, but were left to make the decision based on preliminary studies and their own judgement.

Health providers like UCHealth allowed their doctors to encourage the vaccine for expecting moms, but the decision was ultimately left for parents to make. Dr. Natalie Rochester of UCHealth in Greeley said her patients have expressed many different thoughts on the vaccines.

Dr. Natalie Rochester (credit: CBS)

Rochester, an OBGYN, said some of her patients wanted the vaccine immediately. Others did not want the vaccine at all. Some wanted it after they tested positive for coronavirus. And, others said they wanted to wait until an official status was announced by the CDC.

“It has been a whirlwind. The past two years have been interesting as far as women’s health and women’s healthcare,” Rochester told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “I’ve had moms who were really scared.”

Rochester had been encouraging her patients to consider vaccination, and often cited preliminary research which suggested the vaccine would be safe for pregnant women. However, she couldn’t tell her patients that the vaccine was recommended by the CDC until Wednesday.

(credit: CBS)

“Now, having the CDC’s backing it is much more comforting to say, ‘Here is the recommendation, and here is something you can do to protect yourself during and after pregnancy,'” Rochester said.

Many women have given birth to perfectly healthy children after getting the vaccine.

Jessica Cordova, and her husband Dagoberto, were among those who weighed their options before making a decision.

“Me and my husband are expecting our first child in about three weeks,” Cordova said.

Jessica Cordova (credit: CBS)

Cordova admitted, at first, she was hesitant to get the vaccine while pregnant.

“I feel like being pregnant made me question it a little more, knowing I had somebody else’s life in my hands,” Cordova said. “We took some time and had extra conversations. Both with me and my husband, and the OB.”

Cordova eventually decided the rewards of being vaccinated outweighed the risks posed to both herself and her coming-son. After reviewing early data, the Cordova’s decided vaccination was the best way to assure both mother and child would be healthy.

“It is really reassuring to see the CDC saying, ‘Yes, pregnant women should do this.’ And, knowing we made that decision months ago,” Cordova said.

Both Dr. Rochester and Cordova said they believed more women would be willing to get their vaccination now that the federal government has issued their support.

Rochester said one thing many women are comforted by is the research that suggests antibodies created by the vaccine are capable of transferring to an unborn child through the umbilical cord. That means, with the vaccines only approved for children 12 and older, babies can be born with immunity to the deadly virus.

“COVID has definitely thrown some wrenches in being pregnant and added some stresses and fears. But, ultimately I think we are just doing the best we can to be safe for ourselves and the baby,” Cordova said.

Dillon Thomas