The Maternity Department at University Hospital Galway is encouraging women who are pregnant to get their COVID-19 vaccine and to talk to their midwife or obstetrician at their antenatal appointments.
Helen Murphy, Director of Midwifery at UHG, said that guidance has changed on when women can get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant following new evidence.
Women can get the COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of their pregnancy, and midwives and obstetricians at UHG are available to discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine.
“We are keen to make it as easy as possible for women to get the information they need to make their decision,” said Helen Murphy.
She said that the RCPI Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Rotunda Hospital and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee have prepared a very useful guide called ‘Questions and Answers for pregnant or breastfeeding women about COVID-19 vaccination’.
“I would encourage all pregnant women to read this to help them make up their minds on vaccination. The guide is available on uhgmaternity.com.
“As time goes on we are finding that more and more women visiting the maternity department have received their COVID-19 vaccine.”
Helen Murphy says that from estimates, around 58% of women are vaccinated at this stage and most pregnant women who get the virus get mild to moderate symptoms.
“They give birth as planned and the risk of passing on COVID-19 to their baby is low.
“However, pregnant women are more likely to get very unwell and need treatment in intensive care than a woman who is not pregnant.
“The virus may also cause complications for the baby. For these reasons we encourage all women who are pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Tara Murphy, Midwife at University Hospital Galway empathised with any woman who has any uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.
“Despite being in the medical profession and being a midwife, I too procrastinated and had the exact same anxieties and worries as anyone else debating getting the vaccine,” she said.
“I was nervous at the thought of taking the vaccine and exposing myself and my unborn baby to medication. However I realised that if I did get COVID-19, regardless of the severity, it may be necessary to have lots of medication administered for the wellbeing of both myself and my baby.
“So why not give myself and my baby the best protection I can against the virus by taking the vaccine.
“The entire process of getting both the first and second vaccine was seamless and stress free and I am genuinely thrilled to be fully vaccinated so that I can enjoy the rest of my pregnancy knowing I did everything I could to protect me and my baby!”
Tara said that her advice to anyone still uncertain about the vaccine would be to “act today, seek advice, get the answers to your questions, as you need to be 100% happy with your decision, so avail of all the information that is out there and it’s never too late to register for your vaccine.”
Women who are pregnant can attend any of the walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics or register for a vaccination on hse.ie.
Details of the times and dates of the walk-in vaccination clinics are available from hse.ie and are updated weekly.