Woman, 22, Dies From COVID Soon After Giving Birth: 'She Gave Her Life for Her'

A 22-year-old woman from El Paso, Texas, has died from COVID-19 soon after giving birth to a baby girl.

Aimee Jaqueline Morales Ayala tested positive for the disease on November 7 when she was eight months pregnant, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her sister.

Her condition rapidly worsened and she was admitted to hospital six days later. Shortly after being admitted, doctors performed an emergency caesarean section in order to save the baby.

"We did not know the risks that this cesarean section could have with her being infected with COVID-19 and having pneumonia. She did know, and still agreed," the 22-year-old's sister Kimberly Ayala wrote on the GoFundMe page.

After the baby was delivered safely, her condition continued to deteriorate. Her lungs became inflamed and she started having anxiety attacks during which she could not breathe.

"The days passed and she got worse," Kimberly Ayala said.

On November 28, the woman's lung collapsed and she went into cardio-respiratory arrest. Her heart stopped for 15 minutes, although doctors eventually managed to resuscitate her.

But Morales Ayala was pronounced brain dead and she passed away two days later after medical staff removed her from life support.

"She gave her life and her last effort all for her baby who is safe and sound," Kimberly Ayala said. "She was such a beautiful person inside and out."

Kimberly Ayala told KTSM that knowing her sister never got to hold her baby was the "worst part" about the death of the 22-year-old.

"She loved her so much we know she did because she gave her life for her," she told KTSM.

The woman's husband, Juan Pablo Morales Orozco, said the baby was helping him to get through the grief of losing his wife, with whom he had been married for just over a year.

"I've been able to take her home, hold her and sleep with her. She has been a strength... she's the one carrying me instead of me carrying her," Orozco told KTSM.

"I'm going to give myself completely to my daughter and I'm going to try to be the best husband in the world for [Jaqueline] to fulfill her dreams... because she was the best wife in the world," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) pregnant women and those who have recently had a baby are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. This is because pregnancy causes changes in the body that can reduce the mother's ability to fight off respiratory infections.

A serious COVID-19 infection in a woman who is pregnant may also result in harm to the baby because the child might have to be delivered early, which comes with its own set of risks.

Pregnant woman in hospital
Stock image showing a pregnant woman in hospital. A 22-year-old woman from El Paso, Texas, has died from the disease shortly after giving birth to a baby girl. iStock