GA. doctor says alarming evidence suggests COVID-19 can lead to stillbirth in pregnant women

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A young mother who lost her baby after getting COVID-19 while pregnant is urging all expectant moms to get the vaccine.

Channel 2′s Lori Wilson talked to Kyndal Nipper, who said that she had a near-perfect pregnancy. The only thing she didn’t do was get vaccinated.

Nipper, her husband and 3-year-old daughter were thrilled when they found out they were expecting a baby boy. His name would be named Jack, after her grandfather.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Nipper had a great pregnancy until 36 weeks in, when she started to have mild symptoms.

“Just like allergy symptoms,” Nipper said. “Simply thinking you can pop a Claritin and be fine.”

But the diagnosis was COVID-19, and a few days later, baby Jack stopped moving.

Nipper went to the hospital for a check-up.

“At that point, I felt like something was wrong,” Nipper said.

TRENDING STORIES:

Baby Jack was stillborn the next day.

Dr. Timonthy Villegas has been studying COVID-19-related stillbirths, and said that what he found is alarming.

“Unique changes in the placenta that suggest COVID-19 itself, or the inflammatory changes ... are causing severe inflammation and cell death in the placental tissue, which then prevents the nutrients and the oxygen and the transfer of things between the mother and the baby from happening,” Villegas said.

Villegas said pregnant women across the country are losing their babies to COVID-19 because they are hesitant to get the vaccine, but they shouldn’t be.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

“The benefits of getting the vaccine seem to far outweigh any potential risks,” Villegas said.

Nipper said she wasn’t adamantly against the vaccine, her family just hadn’t gotten the shots yet. She said dealing with the loss is a day-to-day process.

“We don’t just grieve him, we grieve the plans we had for him,” Nipper said.

The loss has been the hardest to explain to Jack’s big sister, Nipper said.

“Every time she would get something, she would say, ‘I can’t wait to share this with baby Jack,’” Nipper said. “So we finally had to sit her down and say, ‘Baby, you’re so sweet, but baby Jack isn’t coming home.’”

Nipper said they try to be transparent and let her know that it’s OK to miss her baby brother.

Nipper’s family is also grieving baby Jack’s namesake, her grandfather, who they also lost earlier this year to COVID-19.

Villegas said no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, stop everything now and get the shot.