Midwives and healthcare professionals are recommending those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy, to think about getting the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.
It is becoming clear that more pregnant women are catching COVID-19, with more and more pregnant women requiring hospital treatment for severe symptoms due to the ‘Delta’ COVID-19 strain. Pregnant women and babies are at greater risk of becoming seriously unwell and therefore are vulnerable to the risk of serious complications, particularly in the last three months of pregnancy.
Pregnant women who become unwell with COVID-19 have a higher risk of stillbirth, are twice as likely that their baby will be born early, (exposing the baby to the risk of prematurity), more likely to need an emergency Caesarean Section (CS) and more likely to become seriously ill requiring Intensive Care (ITU).
National data shows the overwhelming majority of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms have not had the vaccination. New figures just released, also reveal that no pregnant women who had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination had been admitted to hospital.
Director of Midwifery at The James Cook University Hospital, Heather Gallagher said:
“Our main aim is to keep the women and babies we care for safe. The emerging evidence is showing that having the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep both women and babies protected against becoming seriously unwell. If you have questions or are undecided, please talk to your midwife, obstetrician or GP, we are here to help support you making a decision based on the best available evidence and information”.
Louise Hand, Specialist Public Health Midwife at James Cook, said:
“We offer pregnant women vaccines to protect them and their babies during the course of pregnancy, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no different. The COVID-19 vaccination can help keep you and your baby safe. The COVID-19 vaccine is not live, you cannot catch COVID-19 from it, the vaccine does not cross the placenta. So far around the globe over 200,000 pregnant women have received the vaccine safely, with no adverse effects to mother or baby”
Local advice if you choose not to have the COVID-19 vaccination is to continue to wear a mask, social distance from others and keep washing hands to reduce your risk of being exposed during particularly high levels of COVID-19 in the community, particularly women who are in the last 3 months of pregnancy due to their increased risk”.
Health bosses in the region are also encouraging women who are planning a pregnancy, are in the immediate postnatal period or breastfeeding to also have their vaccine as soon as possible. There is no evidence linked to having the jab and fertility and there is no reason to stop breastfeeding in order to have the vaccine.
Any pregnant women who have questions or concerns about the vaccine can speak to their midwife, obstetrician or GP to get more information and advice. Even if they have previously declined the vaccine, they can book an appointment to get their jab on the NHS National Booking Service website or call 119 between 7am and 11pm. A list of drop-ins (you don’t need an appointment) can be found here https://teesvalleyccg.nhs.uk/where-and-when-you-can-you-get-a-walk-in-covid-19-jab-in-tees-valley/.
Pregnant women are strongly encouraged to speak to their midwife for more information.