Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

Pregnant women urged to get Covid jabs amid rise in expectant mums in hospital

A FRONTLINE consultant has urged pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as the numbers admitted to hospital with the virus soar.

Dr Richard Cree revealed that 95 per cent of pregnant women who end up in hospital with the virus have not been vaccinated.

Being pregnant increases the risk of serious illness if mums-to-be catch it as they have an altered immune system.

In his blog – which he has been writing throughout the pandemic – the intensive care consultant urged them to put vaccine hesitancy to one side and have the jab.

He said: “Unfortunately, the vaccine uptake amongst pregnant women is not what it should be and so we are seeing more and more pregnant patients.

“Currently, 95 per cent of all pregnant women who are admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

“Pregnant women with severe Covid pneumonitis are at greatly increased risk of stillbirth or premature delivery and I would urge all pregnant women to take up the offer of vaccination.

“Over the past month we have seen a surprising number of pregnant patients become unwell due to Covid-19 and require admission to hospital.

“Pregnancy causes complicated changes to your immune system and we know that pregnancy increases the likelihood of developing serious complications following many viral infections.

“Luckily, most of the women we have seen have only needed high-flow oxygen or CPAP [Continuous positive airway pressure] and have managed to avoid ventilation.

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“However, being critically ill when pregnant is far from desirable.

“Anything that reduces a pregnant woman’s oxygen levels can reduce the baby’s oxygen levels too. In this situation, the baby may need to be delivered early to avoid disaster.

“This week, one of our pregnant patients became so unwell that it was clear that there was no choice other than to deliver the baby.

“Our lady was sufficiently late on in her pregnancy that we did not have to worry too much about the risks of premature birth but this was obviously a very troubling situation.

“Fortunately, everything went well. The baby was delivered by emergency caesarean section with a minimum of fuss.

“Baby is doing fine and whilst mum remains ventilated on the ICU, her condition is showing some signs of improvement.”

JAB PLEA

There has been a surge in the number of pregnant women admitted to hospital with the coronavirus.

Numbers have soared more than fivefold since the end of May leading to Government ministers and health leaders urging women to get vaccinated.

Oxford University professor Marian Knight, chief investigator of a national study of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19, said: "Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the known risks of Covid-19 in pregnancy for both mother and baby."

No pregnant women with both doses of the vaccine have been admitted to hospital and since May only three women had been admitted after having their first vaccine.

England’s top midwife has also urged expectant mums to get the vaccine.

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England, said: “Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital.

“We need everyone to come forward and take up the offer of a jab which is why I am calling on pregnant women to take action to protect themselves and their babies.

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: “Every day our members are seeing very sick pregnant women with Covid-19 in hospital and the majority are unvaccinated.

“We want to reassure pregnant women that Covid-19 vaccines are the safest and best way to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth.”

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