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Intensive care 20 pregnant women or new mothers in ICU with Covid since June and most of them unvaccinated

The chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists described the numbers as 'striking'


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Twenty pregnant or postpartum women have required intensive care treatment for Covid-19 since the end of June, and most of them have not been vaccinated, a leading obstetrician has revealed.

The chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynecologists described the numbers as “striking”.

There have been a further 1,845 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health said today.

As of Monday morning, there were 497 patients in hospitals with the disease, with 99 of those in intensive care units.

Dr Cliona Murphy, who also works at the Coombe Maternity Hospital, said from November 2020 to June of this year there were 22 pregnant or postpartum women in ICU, she said: “Just from June to October to have 20 is quite significant.”

“I do know that in the last two days there were three women transferred to general hospitals for ICU in the city so that has given us a bit of a shock,” she told RTÉ's News at One.

Most of the women were not vaccinated, she said.

Last week, Independent.ie revealed that none of the pregnant women who had been in ICU with Covid since June were fully vaccinated. One of those women had had her first dose of a two-dose vaccine.

Dr Murphy said normally six to seven pregnant or postpartum women will be admitted to ICU in a year for respiratory conditions but there have been 19 since the end of June.

Mothers who are transferred to ICU for treatment for the virus can be there for up to five weeks.

Dr Murphy said that obstetrics might see one seriously ill mother a year in need of ECMO - a specialised life support unit which is only available in one hospital here.

“Generally, we might have one person a year who needs ECMO and there’s been quite a handful of people who have needed ECMO this year and that is extraordinary for obstetrics,” she said.

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She said typically a pregnant woman will present with a slight shortness of breath.

She said this was typical of people with Covid, and they might not feel that unwell, “but what we have seen particularly in the last few weeks is that they can deteriorate pretty quickly, so instead of being able to manage on some oxygen that often we’re in a position then that the woman is struggling to breathe.”

“If somebody gets Covid and they’re pregnant they’ve a one in 20 risk of hospitalisation and if they end up coming into hospital because of symptoms they’ve a 10pc risk of ICU admission which is quite something,” she said.

Dr Murphy said the HSE is developing pop-up vaccination clinics at maternity hospitals this week which will be open to women at any stage of their pregnancy and their partners.

Dr Declan Keane, consultant obstetrician at the National Maternity Hospital shared a message online yesterday and urged pregnant women to avail of the vaccine.

“Sadly we have had to transfer 2 more pregnant mothers with Covid to a general hospital this weekend for ventilation and ICU care. Both patients were unvaccinated. It doesn’t have to be this way - please get vaccinated,” he said.

This morning, the head of the HSE's Covid-19 vaccination programme said that there has been an increase in the number of people in the general population coming forward for a vaccine in recent days.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Damien McCallion said that since last Thursday the number of people coming forward has increased from 800-1,000 per day to around 2,000 a day.

Mr McCallion said the HSE has been working with hospitals to try and make a certain amount of vaccines available in most major hospitals, including maternity services.

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