Learn about protecting you and your baby during COVID-19 Pregnancy and Vaccinations Q & A session
Pregnant women are being reassured by the NHS in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes that having the COVID-19 vaccination is the best and safest way to protect them and their baby from the serious complications that can be caused by the virus.
NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has organised an online question and answer session, which women expecting a baby or planning to become pregnant soon and their partners will want to attend. During this online Q&A session the public will hear from NHS specialists who will answer questions and concerns about the different COVID-19 vaccines with regards to fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The event is open to all residents in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have concerns about fertility, and their partners. It is on Thursday 2 December and with two sessions taking place on the day. The first is from 12.00 – 13.00 with a repeat during an evening session from 19.00 – 20.00. This will give everyone the opportunity to have their questions answered and hear directly from midwives.
Midwifery experts are keen to have as many women as possible attend as women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant.
The risk of serious complications is low but a recent study of more than 340,000 births in England by the National Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Audit found:
- Women who tested positive for COVID-19 around the time of birth were twice as likely to have a stillbirth (8.5 in every 1000 births, compared with 3.4 in every 1000 births)
- The rate of premature birth was twice as high when the mother had COVID-19 at the time of birth (12% compared with 5.8%)
- Women who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to have an emergency caesarean birth compared with those who didn’t have COVID-19 at birth (27.6% compared to 18.5%)
Research by the UK Obstetric Surveillance System found that none of the 742 pregnant women who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 between 1 February and 11 July 2021 were fully vaccinated. Four women had received one dose and the other 738 were unvaccinated.
During the same time period at least 55,000 pregnant women had received one or more doses in the UK.
Jayne Pigott, BLMK Public Health Midwife: “Our Q&A session is open to anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding and their partners to enable them to ask any questions they have about the vaccine. During the one-hour session, they will hear the latest information about COVID-19 during pregnancy.
“Pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 are more likely to need intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant and are also two to three times more likely to have their babies early than women without COVID-19.
“COVID-19 vaccines offer pregnant women the best protection against COVID-19 disease which can be serious in later pregnancy for some women, so we want to make it as easy as possible for women to access accurate information.
“The vaccination teams at BLMK have also worked hard to make access as easy as possible for pregnant mums, visit www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/drop-in to find out about details of walk-in sessions in your area. These need no appointment to attend.”
“I’d strongly encourage anyone who is pregnant and/or breastfeeding to come along to the dedicated online session and ask the experts any questions they have.”
Dr Sarah Whiteman, GP and Chair of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG said: “As a local GP, I know that new mums, mums to be and their families can have lots of questions about the vaccine. There’s lots of good data now that shows that the vaccines are just as safe and effective for pregnant women as for anyone else, whereas we know that catching COVID-19 can be very serious for mother and baby. If you have any personal concerns, talk to your midwife or GP or look online, just make sure it’s a trusted source of information.
“It is really important to have that discussion about having the vaccination so that you can make an informed decision. These online sessions will enable mothers, their partners and families to ask the panel, which includes registered midwives, any questions they have.”
Local mum to be, Katie said: “I thought carefully about getting vaccinated when I was trying to get pregnant and got some helpful advice from the NHS staff at the vaccination centre. I’ve now had both doses with no side effects, my pregnancy is going well, and I feel reassured that my baby and I are protected by the vaccine.”
To take part in this event, visit the 12.00 session: https://bit.ly/BLMK_webinar12PM
or the 7PM session: https://bit.ly/BLMK_webinar7PM to join the webinar on 2 December. Whichever is best for you.
We have set up a SurveyMonkey for questions to be submitted in advance of the webinar, or questions can be asked on the night. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BLMKPregnancysession
To find out further information on vaccinations during pregnancy visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus/
This session will be recorded and shared widely following the event. The session will also be made available on the CCG YouTube Channel.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?
Public Health England states that the COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be safe and effective during pregnancy or whilst breast-feeding.
The vaccine does not contain live coronavirus and therefore cannot cause COVID-19 infection in a pregnant woman or in her baby.
How can I get the vaccine?
- Pregnant women aged 16 and over can have the vaccine.
- It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine
- If you’re over 17 and 9 months you can book into a clinic offering an appropriate vaccine using the National Booking System or by calling 119
- If you’re aged between 16 and 17 and 9 months, you can walk into a vaccination centre for your first dose / or book online.
- You’ll be able to discuss the benefits and potential risks of having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy at your vaccination appointment.
- You can also speak to a GP or your maternity team for advice.
Where can I find out more?
- NHS advice on vaccine / pregnancy: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/pregnancy-breastfeeding-fertility-and-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination/
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists information sheet https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2021-02-24-combined-info-sheet-and-decision-aid.pdf
- Video featuring local midwives from BLMK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26w5R5tGkvw
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding webinar for women in BLMK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9blLrw7lnY