Healthcare

Covid vaccines are ‘safe for pregnant women and cut stillbirth risk’, study says



Covid-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women to take and can even reduce the risk of stillbirths, according to a new study.

Researchers at St George’s University of London and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists collated data from studies and trials involving over 115,000 vaccinated pregnant women.

They found that pregnant women – who are more likely to become serious ill if they catch Covid-19 – are 15 per cent less at risk of stillbirth if vaccinated.

“We wanted to see if vaccination was safe or not for pregnant women,” said Asma Khalil, professor of obstetrics and maternal fetal medicine at London’s St George’s Hospital in London to The Guardian.

“It is safe, but what’s surprising, and it’s a positive finding, is that there was a reduction in stillbirths.”

“Now we have evidence that the vaccines protect the baby too,” said professor Asma Khalil.

(AFP via Getty Images)

“So far, most of the data on vaccines in pregnancy have been about protecting the pregnant woman herself from Covid. Now we have evidence that the vaccines protect the baby too,” she added.

The 117,552 women involved in the study were predominantly vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and showed no evidence of being at greater risk of experiencing a miscarriage, premature birth, or other pregnancy-related complications.

In December, the government made pregnant women a priority group for receiving the vaccine after studies revealed their increased chance of falling seriously ill with coronavirus.

The virus is also linked to higher chances of stillbirth and preterm births.

A pregnant woman receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

(Raul Arboleda/AFP via Getty Images)

Currently, almost all of the pregnant women admitted to UK hospitals for Covid treatment are unvaccinated.

While vaccine uptake amongst them rose from 22.7 per cent in August to 53.7 per cent in December, it still remains lower amongst pregnant women compared to the general population of the same age groups.

“The best way to protect pregnant women and their babies is to get the Covid vaccine,” Khalil continued. “Even if a pregnant woman thinks they will be fine if they get Covid, that it will be mild for them, there’s a potential advantage [of getting vaccinated] for the baby.”

Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We know women have been hesitant about having the vaccine due to concerns over the effect on their baby.

“We now have strong evidence to show that the vaccine does not increase the risk of adverse outcomes and is the best way of protecting both women and their babies.

“We would recommend all pregnant women have the Covid-19 vaccine and the booster vaccine. Covid-19 is still prevalent and if you do get the virus when you’re pregnant then you are at higher risk of severe illness.”



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