'Striking' rise in pregnant women admitted to ICU due to Covid
The past couple of weeks have seen the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 spike across the country. Worryingly, many of these are women who are pregnant or have just given birth.
According to the chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, there have been 20 pregnant or postpartum women admitted to intensive care because of Covid-19 since the end of June.
Dr Cliona Murphy, an obstetrician at Dublin’s Coombe Hospital, said over the last two days alone three women were transferred from maternity hospitals to ICU in general hospitals which “has given us a bit of a shock”.
Dr Murphy described the figures as “quite striking”, adding that women who have just given birth and require ICU for Covid treatment could be there for up to five weeks.
“If somebody gets Covid and they are pregnant, they have a one in 20 risk of hospitalisation, and if they end up coming into hospital because of symptoms, they’ve got a 10% risk of ICU admission - which is quite something - and up to a 43% risk of caesarean section and about a 20% risk of having a premature baby because of it,” she told RTÉ's Radio One.
“The odds are not in favour of somebody pregnant getting Covid.”
On the vaccination of pregnant women, Damien McCallion, the HSE’s lead for the national vaccination programme, says that the HSE are encouraging people to go to reliable sources and to talk to a healthcare professional if they have concerns about the vaccine.
“If you’re vulnerable, pregnant, perhaps – those are the sort of groups that we know have had high prevalence in ICU and in hospital - then please go and talk to your GP or to your consultant in relation to the benefits of the vaccine for you and the risks around it,” he said.
On calls for vaccines to be available at antenatal appointments, McCallion said they have been working with the hospitals to try and make a certain amount of vaccine available in most of the major hospitals, including maternity services.
“That programme has started and is available now in some hospitals and will be available in others,” he said.