Concern at rising number of pregnant women in ICU with Covid-19

Photo: depositphotos
Photo: depositphotos

Pregnant women have been urged to get themselves vaccinated against coronavirus amid concerns that they are especially vulnerable to the Delta variant.

Leading gynaecologists told Nieuwsuur that the number of expectant mothers in intensive care has doubled since the summer, in contrast to last autumn when hardly any fell seriously ill.

In 7% of cases the baby has to be born by Caesarean section while the mother is in a medically induced coma, with serious consequences for both, Hans Duvekot of the Erasmus Medical Centre said.

‘Women are waking up after three weeks on a ventilator with a flat stomach,’ he said ‘The majority of them are extremely distressed, so much so that we have to call in a psychiatrist. It’s absolutely terrible.’

Babies in IC

Though the virus itself is not a risk to the unborn child, many are born prematurely because of the mother’s condition and have to spend their first weeks in neonatal intensive care.

Manon Benders, head of the IC unit at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht, said: ‘There is a risk of infections, brain haemorrhage, inflammation of the bowels, all things that can have long-term effects for the rest of your life. It’s a very bad start, and more to the point it’s preventable.’

Christianne de Groot, of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said some women were worried about the risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy. Only around 30 to 50 pregnant women are thought to have had the vaccine as a result.

‘At the start of the vaccination campaign we were cautious, but now we know that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women,’ De Groot said.

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