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Doctors urge pregnant women to get vaccinated

Doctors urge pregnant women to get vaccinated Source: Getty

When the COVID-19 pandemic started doctors were particularly concerned for pregnant women and how the disease would impact them and their unborn babies. With vaccination rates rapidly rising across the country, healthcare professionals are calling on expectant mothers to do what they can to minimise risks.

Pregnant women know to be cautious about their health, however with coronavirus cases still surging worldwide experts are asking them to consider an extra layer of defence.  

Dr Vijay Roach, President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,  says vaccination against COVID-19 will help prevent an unnecessarily risky situation for both the mother and the baby.

That's the most important message to get across. Which is that COVID-19 and pregnancy is bad. So then, while we do have some treatments for COVID, ultimately the only thing you can do is not get the disease. And the only thing that we've got now to reduce your risk of developing the disease is vaccination.  

Dr Roach says it's not known exactly why women from migrant backgrounds are at a heightened risk, suggesting improving and varying means of communication could be one way to improve the situation going forward.

As Professor Giles explains, mRNA vaccines are not themselves infectious.

Experts say there are lingering doubts about the mRNA technology, which comes from the misconception that the technology is new or under-researched.  

Professor Giles says while COVID-19 vaccines are new, scientists are very informed about how they work.

She says antibodies generated by the body are the only thing to be passed onto the unborn baby.

Experience from overseas suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of stillbirth or premature delivery.  

Their babies are also more likely to show distress during delivery or to need treatment in newborn intensive care. 

Dr Nisha Khot, obstetrician and  Councillor with The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,  says Australian mums are lucky they haven't experienced COVID-19 risks in the same way as women in other parts of the world.

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