As an obstetrician, here is my advice to pregnant women: get vaccinated and stay safe | Lucy chappell

AAs an obstetrician, I know firsthand the ups and downs that women go through when they have a baby. It can be extremely rewarding for many and a daunting experience for some. In recent months, the pandemic has added a lot of uncertainty to the experience of pregnant women and those considering parenting.

We know how dangerous the virus can be for pregnant women. The data released in recent months is heartbreaking. Between July and October in England, one in five Covid patients receiving NHS treatment through a special lung bypass machine were pregnant women who had not had their first jab. About one in five women hospitalized with the virus must be delivered prematurely to help them recover – and one in five babies needs neonatal care. New data from England shows that among these pregnant women hospitalized with Covid, 98% are not vaccinated.

Senior doctors and healthcare professionals across the healthcare system, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, have made it clear that Covid vaccines are the best possible way for pregnant women to protect yourself from the virus. Actual data from the United States, where vaccines have been administered to more than 177,000 pregnant women, have also been reassuring about their safety for this group.

Now we have even more evidence to support vaccine safety – with new data from the UK Health Security Agency showing there is no impact on newborns. The rate of stillbirths, low birth weight and premature birth is very similar for vaccinated women as for all women.

It is also incredibly reassuring to see the proportion of women giving birth who have received the vaccine. increases steadily over time – from 3% in May to 22% in August. Given that most pregnant women would have become eligible for the vaccine around June, based on advice from our independent experts, this shows that more and more pregnant women are accepting the offer. Immunization coverage at birth is expected to increase further in the coming months. Boosters are also available six months after a second dose for pregnant women aged 40 and over, working in health or social services, or in a risk group.

However, we know there is still a long way to go, especially to make sure we reach pregnant women of all ethnic groups and backgrounds, as immunization varies by ethnicity and deprivation zone. The government and the NHS continue to work closely with experts from medical organizations and community and religious leaders to provide information and advice at every possible opportunity to members of these groups, as well as pregnant women more broadly. Every contact counts between a pregnant woman and a healthcare professional. These new data on pregnancy outcome provide important information to help pregnant women feel more confident about getting vaccinated.

My message is this: If you are thinking about pregnancy, are already pregnant, have a new mother, or know someone who is pregnant or is worried about their fertility, get vaccinated. and stay safe.

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