Local maternity experts are urging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as national figures show a continued rise in the number of unvaccinated pregnant women being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and many experiencing complications.
According to recent figures from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System from the last three months, one in three pregnant women in hospital with COVID-19 in England required additional respiratory support (33%), with more than a third developing pneumonia (37%), and around one in seven needing intensive care (15%).
The data also shows that one in five women admitted to hospital with serious COVID-19 symptoms went on to give birth prematurely, and the likelihood of delivery by caesarean section doubled. One in five babies born to mothers with COVID-19 symptoms were also admitted to neonatal units.
In contrast data published last week by NHS England and the University of Oxford shows that no pregnant women who have had both doses of a vaccine have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Only 3 have been admitted after having their first dose, meaning 98% of those admitted to hospital have not received a jab.
Jasmine Leonce, Clinical Director for Obstetrics from Hertfordshire and West Essex Local Maternity and Neonatal System said: ‘Pregnant women are more at risk of getting seriously unwell with COVID-19, particularly people who are in the later stages of pregnancy or people at any stage of their pregnancy who have underlying health conditions. We’re seeing more pregnant women in our hospitals who are very sick with COVID-19. They are more likely to suffer complications such as premature birth and still birth.
‘Having both doses of the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your baby from the virus. If you’re unsure about having the vaccine or if you’ve had one dose and aren’t sure about having the second, please speak to your doctor or midwife so you can get advice and make a decision that’s right for you.’
One Hertfordshire mum, Nadia, recently made the decision to get her vaccine after speaking to her midwifery team and researching information online. ‘When trying for a baby and becoming pregnant, you are faced with many choices to make to ensure that you and your baby can be as fit and healthy as possible. When the time came around for me to get the vaccine, I really didn’t know what to do. I spoke to my midwives at my appointment and they reassured me and gave me links to official online information. I spent the evening and weekend researching a range of different resources with my husband and felt reassured that having the vaccine would protect myself and my baby.
‘Choosing whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine was such a big decision to make and I am really pleased with the decision I made.’
With more than 55,000 pregnant women in the UK and 130,000 in the US having had their vaccine, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are recommending women come forward for their jab as the safest and most effective way to get protection from the virus.
There are many locations across Hertfordshire and west Essex where people can get their vaccine. People can book an appointment via the National Booking Service online at www.nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination or by calling 119 between 7am and 11pm and patients can also book through their GP. Locations and opening times for walk-in centres and vaccination pop-up clinics and the vaccines on offer at each are on the Healthier Future website, covid.healthierfuture.org.uk, which also has other useful information.