PREGNANT mothers in the MIA should be seriously considering rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccination, according to a leading obstetrician in the area.
Director of obstetrics at Griffith Base Hospital, Dr Sivara Navaneethan, said he was happy to dispel any confusion or fear surrounding vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the MIA.
According to Dr Navaneethan, the vaccine uptake has been slow for expectant mums, a cause for concern as the risk of serious health complications from COVID-19 was significantly higher for pregnant women than non pregnant women.
"In pregnancy the immunity is altered, so pregnant women are much more prone to be infected with diseases such as COVID-19," Dr Navaneethan said.
Pregnant women are classified as moderate to high-risk for a multitude of reasons and are currently recommended the Pfizer vaccine.
"During pregnancy the baby bump occupies the tummy and presses up into the chest so the lung capacity is less, meaning that ventilation, if needed for serious COVID-19 cases, would be extremely difficult," Dr Navaneethan said.
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By looking at globally available data, Dr Navaneethan noted pregnant women were 22 times more likely to die if they contracted COVID-19.
"Even in this two thirds there is an increased risk of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, it also means that a natural birth is very unlikely and that c-section may be the only way to safely deliver the baby," Dr Navaneethan said.
"If an expecting mum contracts COVID-19, the risk of pre-term labour is also doubled, as is the chance of still birth, with the odds of needing to go to intensive care for treatment five times higher."
Breastfeeding mothers are also set to benefit through vaccination, as the antibodies contained in the vaccine will protect their babies through the ingestion of breast milk.
"Pfizer is very safe and will increase the immunity of both mum and baby both during and after pregnancy," Dr Navaneethan said.
"We must act wisely based on the available data, getting vaccinated won't harm you or your baby but contracting COVID-19 will.
It is important to make informed decision and use reliable sources and not social media and heresy evidence in relation to the health of yourself and your baby."
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