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Many unvaccinated pregnant women with COVID-19 have to end pregnancy early

Many pregnant women in Hanoi who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 suffered serious complications after being admitted to hospital, according to Hanoi Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital.

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A chest X-ray of a pregnant woman infected with COVID-19 shows lung damage. Photo dantri.com.vn

The severe development of the disease caused many women to terminate their pregnancies early.

A 38-year-old woman in Hoang Mai District is one example.

She was infected with SARS-CoV-2 while pregnant and had not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. Due to progressive respiratory failure, she had to end her pregnancy in the 30th week.

However, a few days after the operation, her condition continued to worsen and she was quickly transferred to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for further treatment.

Doctor Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, vice director of the Hanoi Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, which is now treating more than 100 pregnant women with COVID-19, said about 70 per cent of them had not yet received a COVID-19 jab or had not been fully vaccinated.

Notably, most of the unvaccinated pregnant women suffered severe illness and had to end their pregnancies early, said Ha.

“The number of pregnant women who have not yet been inoculated is relatively high. One of the reasons for them not being vaccinated might be because pregnant women and their families were still confused and lack the proper awareness about the vaccine,” the doctor told dantri.com.vn.

In the past few days, the hospital had received and treated a number of pregnant women with COVID-19 whose conditions worsened after they were self-monitoring their health at home after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Many of them did not know that the disease was developing rapidly and were taken to hospital when their condition had deteriorated.

A typical case was a woman at her 30th week of pregnancy who had not yet been vaccinated.

On January 14, the patient had a cough and fever and did a quick test which came back positive for COVID-19. She continued to self-monitor her health at home.

Six days later, she was transferred to the hospital suffering from shortness of breath, low blood oxygen level, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and a fever. The foetal heart rate was fluctuating at 160-170 beats per minute.

The patient was given emergency treatment with an oxygen mask but her condition did not improve. She was transferred to a high flow nasal cannulae (HFNC) ventilator. Tests showed signs of increased inflammation and cytokine storm.

The patient was diagnosed with severe acute respiratory failure. Doctors decided to perform an emergency caesarean section and save the baby boy who weighed 1.6kg.

After surgery, the mother and newborn continued to receive treatment.

At the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, where the most severe cases are being treated, the majority of young patients were pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

Doctor Pham Van Phuc, the unit’s vice head, said most of the pregnant women with COVID-19 transferred to the unit worsened from about the 7th day of infection.

According to doctors of Hanoi Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, the immune system of pregnant women is more vulnerable to respiratory viruses compared to other people.

Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are more susceptible to severe illness, increasing the risk of requiring mechanical ventilation, use of high doses of antibiotics, high risk of preterm birth, and even life-threatening complications.

Doctor Vu Van Vinh of Hanoi Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital said that for pregnant women with signs of severe illness, if the pregnancy was not terminated early, the disease would progress very quickly and often lead to a serious and critical condition.

This directly threatens the health and life of both mother and child, Vinh said.

Doctors recommend that pregnant women who are eligible for vaccination need to receive them as soon as possible.

Source: Vietnam News 

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