A frontline consultant battling the pandemic has said a “surprising” number of pregnant Covid-19 patients have needed hospital care.
Dr Richard Cree, an intensive care consultant at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, said the vaccine take-up for women who are pregnant was not as high as it should be.
Dr Cree, who has been blogging throughout the pandemic on the nomoresurgeons.com platform, wrote that one mother had to have an emergency caesarean before being put on a ventilator.
Pregnancy changes the immune system and increases the risk of serious conditions following many viral infections – and more pregnant women need to have the jab, he said.
And anything that reduces a pregnant woman’s oxygen levels also reduces the baby’s levels – putting the foetus at risk, he added.
In the blog published on Wednesday, he said: “Over the past month we have seen a surprising number of pregnant patients become unwell due to Covid-19 and require admission to hospital.”
Most have been treated with oxygen and have not needed to be ventilated, he said.
He added: “This week, one of our pregnant patients became so unwell that it was clear that there was no choice other than to deliver the baby.
“Our lady was sufficiently late on in her pregnancy that we did not have to worry too much about the risks of premature birth but this was obviously a very troubling situation.
“Fortunately, everything went well.
“The baby was delivered by emergency caesarean section with a minimum of fuss thanks to the combined efforts of the team of obstetricians, anaesthetists, midwives and nurses.
“Baby is doing fine and whilst mum remains ventilated on the ICU, her condition is showing some signs of improvement.”
He urged pregnant women to take up the offer of a jab.
“Currently, 95% of all pregnant women who are admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated,” he said.
“Pregnant women with severe Covid pneumonitis are at greatly increased risk of stillbirth or premature delivery and I would urge all pregnant women to take up the offer of vaccination.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives have urged pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Earlier this month, Professor Marian Knight, from Oxford University who led a national study of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19, said: “More than 100 pregnant women have been admitted to hospital in each of the last two weeks with Covid-19.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the known risks of Covid-19 in pregnancy for both mother and baby, including admission to intensive care and premature birth.
“No pregnant women who have received both doses of vaccine have been admitted to hospital since the vaccination programme began.
“Most of those admitted recently have been unvaccinated, with only five women admitted who had received a single vaccine dose.”