THE Delta variant poses a “severe” risk to mums-to-be and all pregnant women have been urged to get jabbed.
Almost all pregnant women hospitalised with Covid had not been vaccinated, shocking new figures showed yesterday.
Pregnant women urged to get Covid jabs amid rise in hospitalisations[/caption]
Data from Oxford University suggested the Delta variant is causing more serious illness in pregnant women.
Half of those taken to hospital are now suffering “moderate to severe disease”, up from a quarter during the first wave.
Marian Knight, the study’s chief investigator, said: “It is extremely good news that so few vaccinated pregnant women have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
“However, it is very concerning that admissions of pregnant women to hospital with Covid-19 are increasing and that pregnant women appear to be more severely affected by the Delta variant of the disease.’
She added: “I cannot emphasise more strongly how important it is for pregnant women to get vaccinated in order to protect both them and their baby.’
Being pregnant increases the risk of serious illness if mums-to-be catch Covid as they have an altered immune system.
Dr Richard Cree revealed that 95 per cent of pregnant women who end up in hospital with the virus have not been vaccinated.
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.
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He said: “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.
“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.”
I did my research and got the jab while pregnant:
A PREGNANT MUM anxious about the vaccine said doing her research persuaded her to get the jab after several months of burying her head in the sand.
Laura Brunton, a life management coach, was hesitant about getting vaccinated after she fell pregnant with her third child, partly driven by a lot of misinformation she read online.
“I’ll be honest, I just buried my head in the sand because instinctively it just felt so new, and as many people know, as a parent your first instinct is to protect your child so I kind of took the ‘let’s wait and see’ attitude,” she said.
But after her 20-week scan went well and as lockdown eased, she began to think about how big a risk catching Covid-19 might be to both her unborn baby and her two young children.
She found information on the NHS and the Royal College of Midwives websites, before talking to her midwife and consultant.
“I talked it through with my husband and I literally did a pros and cons list – a good old-fashioned pen to paper list after looking at all the information available,” she said.
“I thought, on balance, it is safer for me, being the carrier of my child and also having two kids at home already who obviously aren’t vaccinated, (to have a jab) to protect all of us.”
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.
Prof Knight, chief investigator of a national study of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I think pregnant women can be reassured about the safety of the vaccine.
“And we need to emphasise the benefits, not only to them but we know that antibodies are passed on to their babies as well, so it’s really important not just to prevent illness in you as a pregnant woman, but also to prevent the consequences of illness for your 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.
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“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.”