'I've nearly lost my life because of Covid and I wouldn't be sat here now and neither would my baby,' Zoey Edwards urged others to get the vaccine
Zoey Edwards, 32, from Preston, did not have the coronavirus vaccine while she was pregnant because she was hesitant about the effects it would have on her and her baby.
But she said she regretted her decision when she was in intensive care and her doctor talked about the possibility of putting her into a coma.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has said Covid-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients known to be harmful to pregnant women or developing babies.
The RCOG and the Royal College of Midwives recommend that women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy get their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Ms Edwards believes she contracted Covid-19 from her son, who was sent home from school for being unwell. A few days later, on June 14, she began developing symptoms.
The 32-year-old was admitted to intensive care at Royal Preston Hospital on June 25 at just 35 weeks into her pregnancy. Doctors performed an emergency caesarean the same night to save the lives of her and her baby.
Ms Edwards, who is now at home after leaving hospital on July 7, told ITV News: "Basically, I've just nearly lost my life because of Covid and I wouldn't be sat here now and neither would my baby.
"So I would go and have the jab at about 27-28 weeks (of pregnancy)."
Speaking about nearly being put in a coma, Ms Edwards broke down and said she believes if it had happened, she "wouldn't have come out".
She continued to thank the NHS, saying she was "grateful" to be able to return home two weeks later.
Zoey Edwards said she chose to delay getting the vaccine because she felt like there wasn't enough research
Explaining her decision not to get the vaccine while pregnant, Ms Edwards said: "I felt like there wasn't enough research out there. I heard so many stories about people who have still births and miscarriages under 16 weeks.
"The US have got quite a lot of research but in England, we haven't really got a lot. And I didn't know a lot of people, or hardly anyone, that had the jab.
"So for me, it was like keeping me and my baby safe for the nine months."
But she said she later regretted her decision: "When it got to being in intensive care and the consultant saying we might have to put her in a coma, I was thinking if I had had my jab beforehand or if I had had my jab at the right time or while being pregnant, I wouldn't be sat in this position now."
Covid-19 has taken a 'massive' toll, Ms Edwards explains
Ms Edwards said Covid-19 has taken a "massive toll" on her, explaining that she now has counselling, sees a physio for her lungs and is taking medication for a suspected blood clot.
Even after leaving hospital, Ms Edwards was still having difficulty breathing.
The impact of not being able to see her son and partner after having her C-section and in intensive care has also had a mental impact on the mum.
Returning home from hospital after intensive care was the 'best thing ever'
Asked about how she felt upon returning home from hospital after a gruelling two weeks, Ms Edwards broke down and said: "Best thing ever."
She added that "just to see everyone's faces again and (going) back to normality" has been a huge relief
It comes as scientists found that more than 99% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated, with the Delta variant of coronavirus posing a significantly greater risk of severe disease.
Researchers at Oxford University have described their findings as “concerning”, saying that one in 10 pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms of Covid-19 often require intensive care.
In a study, published in an online server called medRxiv, the scientists said that vaccinations are able to offer effective protection from the risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19, with far fewer numbers from vaccinated groups in hospital compared with those who have not had the jab.
Coronavirus: What you need to know
Marian Knight, professor of maternal and child population health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and chief investigator of the study, said: “It is extremely good news that so few vaccinated pregnant women have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
“However, it is very concerning that admissions of pregnant women to hospital with Covid-19 are increasing and that pregnant women appear to be more severely affected by the Delta variant of the disease.
“Around 200 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 last week.
“I cannot emphasise more strongly how important it is for pregnant women to get vaccinated in order to protect both them and their baby.”
For the study, the researchers looked at the data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS), involving all pregnant women in the UK admitted to hospital with symptoms of Covid-19 from the beginning of the pandemic to up to July 11 2021.
Dr Leonie Penna, a consultant obstetrician at King’s College Hospital, says pregnant women are being hit harder by the Delta variant than they have been with previous dominant strains
They found that 3,371 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with symptoms of the disease.
The researchers also discovered that the severity of women’s illness appeared to have become worse over the course of the pandemic – with 24% of women admitted in the first wave having moderate or severe disease, compared with 36% with the Alpha variant and 45% with the Delta variant.
The scientists also looked at the vaccination data collected since February 1 2021 and found that of the 742 women admitted since that date, only four have received a single dose of vaccine and none have received both doses.
Nicola Vousden, registrar in public health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the first author of the study, said: “This study shows that very few pregnant women are admitted to hospital with Covid-19 after they have received a vaccine.
Why are experts saying the vaccine is safe for pregnant women?
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said Covid-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients known to be harmful to pregnant women or developing babies.
It added: "Studies of the vaccines in animals to look at the effects on pregnancy have shown no evidence that the vaccine causes harm to the pregnancy or to fertility." The Covid vaccines used in the UK are not ‘live’ vaccines, so RCOG reasons they cannot cause Covid-19 infection in an adult or an unborn baby.
Non-live vaccines have previously been shown to be safe in pregnancy (for example, flu and whooping cough). Pregnant women are offered other non-live vaccines, such as those against flu.
“Other studies have shown that women who have received a vaccine pass on antibodies to their babies, so the benefits of vaccination to both pregnant women and their babies are clear.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives recommend that women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy get their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
England’s chief midwife Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent said: “Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones safe and out of hospital.”
Dr Edward Morris, president of the RCOG, said: “Every day our members are seeing very sick pregnant women with Covid-19 in hospital and the majority are unvaccinated.
“We want to reassure pregnant women that Covid-19 vaccines are the safest and best way to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth.”