NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Hospitalizations continue to surge across the south, as the highly transmissible Delta variant continues to spread.

On Friday, Tennessee hit 3,000 hospitalizations across the state. One group that’s seeing an increase in COVID hospitalizations is pregnant women.

Tennessee surpasses 1 million total COVID-19 cases

At Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, the ICU recently treated more than a dozen pregnant women with COVID.

Through the pandemic, the hospital has only seen one or two pregnant women each month.

News4 spoke with Dr. Todd Rice, the director of Vanderbilt’s intensive care unit, who said most of the pregnant women they're seeing are young and healthy, and even those that don't have high-risk pregnancies are losing their babies.

Rice says one of the hospital’s frustrations is that most of the pregnant women ending up in the hospital are unvaccinated.

"When we talk to them, they say, ‘Well, my doctor said they don’t know if the vaccine was safe, so I didn’t do it.’” Rice said. “We feel somewhat frustrated for the patient because they asked a trusted healthcare provider and that healthcare provider told them don’t take the vaccine, and so that makes us frustrated with the healthcare providers, and all of our goals are to try and take care of patients and protect them and make them better.”

Rice says there is plenty of research out there now that shows vaccines are safe and encouraged for pregnant women, especially with the Delta variant spreading.

According to national data from the CDC, just 23 percent of pregnant women are fully vaccinated.

So far, 131 pregnant women have died from COVID in the U.S. and more than 200 have lost their pregnancies.

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