Doctors express concern for pregnant women on 'Freedom Day'

·2-min read
Photo credit: eftoefto
Photo credit: eftoefto

Doctors and midwives are urging caution amongst pregnant women as the UK does away with the majority of coronavirus-related rules today. According to data collected from UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS), pregnant women - especially those in their third trimester - are at risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, and that 1 in 10 pregnant women suffering with the virus is admitted into intensive care. This comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK hit 48,161 yesterday.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) issued a statement saying stats show only 58% of pregnant women have had the vaccine. Both colleges say they agree it's "the best way to protect against the known risks of Covid-19 in pregnancy for both mother and baby" and that although research shows the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, 'mixed messages' during the early stages of the pandemic deterred many from getting the jab.

That said, it's always best to speak to your GP or midwife about your own personal circumstances before deciding whether or not go ahead and be vaccinated while expecting – it's still very much a personal decision.

Photo credit: LWA/Dann Tardif/Blend Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: LWA/Dann Tardif/Blend Images - Getty Images

With the UK unlocking while COVID cases are rising, data suggests the numbers of pregnant women in hospital each week have tripled since the end of May. As a result, pregnant women are also being urged to continue to practice social distancing. It's another reason why, along with protecting the disabled and immunocompromised, encouraging your friends and family to still wear a face mask while out in public, even if it's no longer necessarily a legal requirement, is a good idea.

Gill Walton, RCM chief executive, echoed those comments by saying: "Along with mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing, vaccination is a vital tool in the fight to protect yourself against this virus. All the evidence is showing that having the Covid jab is safe during pregnancy, and I do urge you to have the vaccine to protect yourself, your baby and your family."

Doctors are also suggesting that pregnant women suffering from COVID-19 are twice as likely to deliver early, exposing the baby to the risk of prematurity. "Recent studies have also found that pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of birth were more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, need an emergency caesarean and had higher rates of stillbirth; however, the actual increases remain low," the issued statement reads.

Remember, if you have any concerns whatsoever about being pregnant during the pandemic, remember there's no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your health. Asking your medical team for advice - on anything - is always the best move you can make.

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