A government case study into pregnant women and their experiences with COVID-19 has seen expectant mothers urged to get their vaccine to offer protection to themselves and their babies.
Data published by the UK Health Security Agency shows that nearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients who are critically ill are unvaccinated pregnant women.
Of those pregnant women in hospital with symptomatic coronavirus, 98% are unvaccinated, with no fully vaccinated pregnant women being admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 in England between February and September 2021.
The UKHSA has also found the vaccines to be safe for both mothers and their babies, with statistics showing good birth outcomes for vaccinated women and no consistent differences reported between vaccinated woman and all women in figures for stillbirths, low baby birthweights and premature births.
Since April 2021, around 80,000 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and there is now a push to help boost those numbers.
A new campaign has been launched to encourage expectant mothers to get their vaccine, with powerful stories told by women who tested positive and struggled during their pregnancies as a result.
One of the women involved in the case study was a makeup advisor from Lincolnshire called Joanne, who suffered complications with her pregnancy after catching COVID-19.
Joanne said: “I had been unsure what was the right thing to do about getting vaccinated while pregnant. I was planning on having the jab after my daughter was born but I caught COVID-19 when I was 35 weeks pregnant and became seriously ill, I couldn’t get out of bed for a week.
“I had nearly recovered but something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t feel my baby kicking so I made an urgent appointment to see my midwife. The team at the hospital quickly spotted the baby’s growth had dropped and her fluid was low.
“Her heartbeat was going down and down so the consultant rushed me off for an emergency caesarean when
Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health and Social Care and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician, said: “The stories shared as part of this film are heartbreaking and provide invaluable, first-hand insight into why accepting the offer of a COVID-19 vaccine is so important for mothers and their babies.
“Getting the vaccine is one of the most vital ways in which you can protect yourself and your baby from COVID-19, which can be really dangerous for pregnant women – of those pregnant women in hospital with symptomatic COVID-19, 98% are unvaccinated.
“Watch the film, speak to your clinician or midwife if you have any questions or concerns, and book in your vaccine without delay.”