Urgent warning to pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn babies

Urgent warning to pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn babies

12/06/2021

PREGNANT women have been given an urgent message to protect themselves and their babies from Covid.

In a new campaign, three mums have told of their life-threatening experiences getting the virus while pregnant and unvaccinated, and how it may have harmed their babies.

It comes at a time when there is more social mixing over the Christmas period, Covid cases are high and feared to grow more as a result of the Omicron variant.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said 98 per cent of mums-to-be hospitalised with Covid are unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated mums-to-be make up one in five Covid patients who are most critically ill.

One in five women who are admitted to hospital with the virus have to deliver their babies prematurely, and one in five of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.

Since May 2021, only three pregnant women with one vaccine dose have been admitted to hospital. There have been zero fully-vaccinated pregnant women. 

Christina, a mental health therapist from Guildford, was admitted to hospital with Covid in her third trimester.

She had scans to see if she had a deadly pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the lungs that could kill her.

“I had to give birth via emergency C-section because there was concern that I could have a stillbirth,” Christina said.

“It was terrifying.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me and my baby; I’m still suffering with symptoms now along with the anxiety of not knowing how or when I’ll recover.”

Christina said when she asked if Covid had affected her baby, doctors said she had foetal growth restriction and may have developmental issues in the future.

She said: “I would urge pregnant women to get vaccinated because I don’t want anyone to experience what I went through.”

MY FAMILY WERE TOLD TO PREPARE FOR THE WORST

Tanviha caught Covid during her second pregnancy in February at around 32 weeks.

She said: “At the time, the vaccine wasn’t available to me and I quickly took a turn for the worse.

“I was rushed into hospital and went straight into intensive care where my condition deteriorated and my son was delivered by emergency C-section.

I was put to sleep and intubated, and my family were told it was unlikely I’d survive and to prepare for the worst.

“I was put to sleep and intubated, and my family were told it was unlikely I’d survive and to prepare for the worst.

“The day after I was intubated, the nurse told them they were going to switch the machine off, but instead I was transferred to an Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which is a last resort for patients with severe heart and lung failure, and it saved my life.”

Tanviha, who works in anaesthesiology and research in Manchester, spent two months in hospital following an emergency C-section.

She said her family had to go through daily phone calls to say Tanviha may not survive. 

She said: “The first time I saw my son he was two months old. It’s the scariest experience of mine and my family’s life but I’m just grateful that me and my son are alive.

“If you’re unsure about getting vaccinated please come forward and get your jab, not everyone’s as lucky as I am.”

I WISH I’D BEEN VACCINATED SOONER

Joanne, a make-up adviser from Lincolnshire, said she had been “unsure what was the right thing to do about getting vaccinated while pregnant”.

She said: “I was planning on having the jab after my daughter was born.

“But I caught Covid when I was 35 weeks pregnant and became seriously ill, I couldn’t get out of bed for a week.

“I had nearly recovered but something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t feel my baby kicking so I made an urgent appointment to see my midwife.

“The team at the hospital quickly spotted the baby’s growth had dropped and her fluid was low.

“Her heartbeat was going down and down so the consultant rushed me off for an emergency caesarean when Mollie-Ann was born.

“I’m so grateful to the maternity team for keeping me and my baby safe and I just wish I’d been vaccinated sooner.”

Joanna said doctors think Covid affected her placenta and cord to Mollie-Ann, depriving her of oxygen.

SAFE AND EFFECTIVE

In the video, Prof Asma Khalil, a professor in obstetrics and maternal foetal medicine, reassured women that the Covid vaccine was the best protection for themselves and their babies. 

She said: “Over the last few months, we have data from a very large number of pregnant women. More than 300,000 women in US and more than 90,000 in the UK.

“We know the vaccines are safe and effective. We know that it does not increase the risk of miscarriage. It does not increase the risk of stillbirths. It does not make the woman go into premature birth. 

“And therefore, the advice is clear: The best way for a pregnant women to protect herself and her baby is to get a Covid vaccine.”

Professor Lucy Chappell, chief scientific adviser at the DHSC and honorary consultant obstetrician, said: “The stories shared as part of this film are heartbreaking and provide invaluable, first-hand insight into why accepting the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine is so important for mothers and their babies.

“Getting the vaccine is one of the most vital ways in which you can protect yourself and your baby from Covid-19, which can be really dangerous for pregnant women – of those pregnant women in hospital with symptomatic Covid-19, 98 per cent are unvaccinated.

“Watch the film, speak to your clinician or midwife if you have any questions or concerns, and book in your vaccine without delay.”



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