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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — A Novant Health doctor said her colleagues in Charlotte and across the country are “shocked and horrified” by how hospital intensive care units are filling up with pregnant women who have COVID.

Novant doctors in Charlotte said they’re getting close to their peak–what they saw earlier on during the pandemic, which is about 3% of their pregnant patients testing positive for COVID.

But the difference now is the patients are much sicker. Some of them are requiring ventilators.

This week the CDC recommended pregnant women get the COVID vaccine. The doctor says it’s safe to get the shot pre-conception or at any point during your pregnancy.

But if you can, Dr. Amelia Sutton said to get the shot before the third trimester, or before 28 weeks, so that it can take full effect since the third trimester is risky for pregnant women with any respiratory viruses because of changes in the way the lungs work.

“It’s unprecedented the number of pregnant women that are on a ventilator right now. Many of my colleagues who’ve been practicing for many decades are shocked and horrified by how the ICUs are filling with pregnant women, and we’re seeing that most of those women are not vaccinated. The vast majority are not vaccinated, so we are urging our patients strongly to get this vaccine as soon as possible,” Dr. Sutton said.

The doctor added that the vaccine does not cause infertility.