Northern Ireland news

Belfast hospitals treated 12 pregnant women with Covid-19 in past week

Belfast hospitals have treated 12 pregnant women with Covid-19 in the past week. Picture by David Jones, Press Association

BELFAST hospitals have treated 12 pregnant women with Covid-19 in the past week.

The Belfast trust, which operates hospitals including the Royal Victoria, Belfast City and the Mater, said pregnant women with the virus are having to be ventilated, "with the majority being hospitalised in their third trimester, over 26 weeks".

It is understood that none of the 12 women were vaccinated against Covid.

Several pregnant women have had to have to have pre-term deliveries in recent weeks. Those babies then needed to be admitted to neonatal intensive care.

The admissions have put further pressure on intensive care because babies with the virus have to be isolated for 10 days after they are born.

A total of six babies are in isolation.

"If a baby is in the neonatal unit and its parents are Covid positive, unfortunately - for infection prevention and control reasons - parents will not be allowed to hold their baby until they have completed the required period of isolation or had a negative PCR test," the Trust said.

The Trust said that unvaccinated pregnant women are more likely to become infected with Covid-19, more likely to become unwell if they are infected, and more likely to require hospital admission and respiratory support.

Pregnancy can reduce an expectant woman's lung capacity. Covid-19 can further increase pressure on the lungs.

The Royal College of Midwives in Northern Ireland said there is a rise in pregnant women being admitted to hospital with serious illness - "almost all of whom are unvaccinated".

"Pregnant women are at greater risk of serious illness if they get Covid, and those with severe Covid are twice as likely to experience a stillbirth and three times as likely to have a pre-term baby," it said.

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