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Fears for pregnant women as COVID restrictions ease

Published on 15/07/21 at 11:02am

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have expressed fears over the planned easing of COVID restrictions, warning of increased infections among pregnant women.

Studies have found that pregnant women may be at higher risk of becoming severely ill with COVID in the late stage of pregnancy due the pressure exerted on the lungs by the growing foetus.

The RCOG and RCM have publicly urged pregnant women to get vaccinated, "to protect yourself, your baby and your family".

Research so far has found that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, however data from the BBC suggests that 58% of women have declined to have a COVID jab. This may be due to the mixed messaging on the jab’s safety for pregnant women during the start of the vaccination rollout in the UK.

The RCOG said pregnant women are the only clinically vulnerable group that has not been targeted for vaccination, and called for a direct campaign from the NHS to help increase the number of women getting protection from the vaccine.

Dr Edward Morris, RCOG president, said: "We are concerned that increasing rates of COVID infection will adversely impact pregnant women.

"We know that those who are pregnant with COVID are at an increased risk of becoming severely ill, and the vaccine is the safest and most effective way of protecting women and their babies."

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) now advises that pregnant women should all be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, at the same time as the rest of the population.

Research carried out in the US, involving more than 90,000 pregnant people found no risk from vaccination, and experts have stated that there is no reason to think there is any increased risk of miscarriage, as the vaccine does not appear to cross from the mother to child via the placenta.

Gill Walton, RCM chief executive, said: "Along with mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing, vaccination is a vital tool in the fight to protect yourself against this virus.

"If you are unsure or worried about this, do speak to your midwife or doctor to get the facts so that you can make an informed decision.

"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."

Kat Jenkins

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