Are you a mum-to-be but haven’t yet had your COVID-19 vaccination?
You may have lots of different reasons for not getting vaccinated. It is important, though, that you know that mums-to-be who have not had the COVID-19 jab are at a disproportionate risk of being hospitalised with COVID-19. And that means you could be putting yourself and your unborn baby at unnecessary risk.
New mum Clara, who recently gave birth to baby Maya, initially shared your concerns – which could be similar to any you’ve had or heard about. And she is a local NHS doctor!
“I was uncertain about getting vaccinated in pregnancy as the vaccine was very new at the time of me being pregnant,” she says. “As a doctor I think it is important to inform yourself of all the facts before making a big decision and I didn’t want to rush into anything.”
“Over the last year and a half, though, I had seen many people getting very sick with COVID-19. Some of these were pregnant women and it was very distressing to see them and the impact that their illness had on themselves and their loved ones. Pregnancy puts a lot of demands on women’s bodies. I certainly didn’t want to take the risk of ending up in hospital when there were two lives at stake.”
Some mums-to-be say that they are putting off vaccination because they are worried about side effects. Clara points out that any side effects are likely to be very mild – a sore arm, or a slightly raised temperature – and this passing discomfort is hugely outweighed by the protection given to mother and baby. Baby Maya is also benefitting from the additional immunity to COVID-19 that was passed to her through mum’s vaccination.
“There is now even more evidence than when I was pregnant to say that vaccination is safe in pregnancy,” she adds. “At the same time there is also even more data to say that Covid-19 infection is dangerous in pregnancy. the decision to get vaccinated was the right one.
“If you’re a mum-to-be and you’ve not had your jab, don’t put it off any longer. Go and get vaccinated and protect yourself and your baby.”
If you’re a new mum who’s already had her baby but missed out on your vaccination it’s still important that you get your COVID-19 vaccination, especially with the winter flu season coming up.
When baby Edith was born in March this year, mum Jennifer wasn’t yet among the people who were eligible for vaccination. As soon as the option came up, when Edith was just four weeks old, Jennifer made sure she got her first Pfizer jab straightaway.
“I felt really strongly that I wanted to get the jab as quickly as I could,” she says. “Being a mum starts during pregnancy, and that includes taking care of yourself and your baby.
“As a breast-feeding Mum it was so important to me to be vaccinated in order to hopefully offer my baby some protection too. I wanted to feel safe taking my baby out and about even just to the supermarket. Without it, I felt we were both at risk.
“As soon as I had my first vaccination, I felt 100% more secure. Getting vaccinated as a pregnant woman – or when you’ve got a new-born – is all about taking care of you, your baby, and your family around you.
“As a mum with a new baby, I’ve already got plenty on my plate to worry about – being vaccinated means that worrying about COVID-19 isn’t one of them!”
If you feel apprehensive about getting a vaccine when you are pregnant, you can always have a chat with your midwife. Or pop along to one of our vaccination centres where you can talk to the matron.
Nurse consultant Fiona White, who has reassured dozens of pregnant women about the COVID-19 jab, said: “Our walk-in vaccination centres provide a friendly and supportive environment where you can talk through any concerns you have. We will give you plenty of time to make your choice.
“It is completely understandable that some women may have questions and concerns about taking the vaccine, but I would encourage any mum-to-be to come forward. The vaccines save lives, and we are confident that they can be safely offered to pregnant women.”