A mother has spoken of her "devastation" after losing a baby delivered while she was in an induced coma with Covid.
"I was heavily sedated a lot of the time and from what I'm told by my family, my chances weren't looking very good," the 38-year-old said.
"They were trying to get the baby to survive to 28 weeks but unfortunately, at 24 weeks, my son was born stillborn."
She had gone to get her vaccine while pregnant last year, but said there had still been uncertainty at that early stage in the rollout over whether expectant women should have it.
She said: "I did initially go to get the vaccine, but at the time the advice was not to have it.
"I thought I’d have the vaccine when I’d had the baby, but it wasn’t meant to be."
As more data has emerged showing the vaccine to be safe, there have been repeated calls for pregnant women to get jabbed.
Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Social Care cited statistics from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System which it said showed 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms between May and October were unvaccinated, a third of whom required respiratory support.
Rachel, who did not wish her surname to be used, was in a coma and in hospital for three and a half months after contracting the virus.
She said she would encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated.
She said: “I would say take it – it’s a two-minute thing that can save months of agony if you end up like I was.”
In November last year experts warned that while uptake of the vaccine among pregnant women was improving, they were worried about some groups shunning the jabs, including younger women, those in the most deprived areas and women from black and minority ethnic communities.
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Rachel said it is “really important” everyone gets their jabs.
Speaking about her loss, she said: “I didn’t actually know I had given birth. I was on drugs so they wanted to tell me when I wasn’t sedated, and the obstetrician informed me a few days later.
“My emotions were disbelief – one minute you’re having a scan and a gender reveal, naming the baby and getting excited, and then there was this sudden loss.
“I was only able to see him once. Normally I’d have been able to spend a lot more time with him and to hold him. But I didn’t get to do that because of the circumstances.”
She said things have been difficult for her partner and her 18-year-old son.
“We’re all devastated at our loss,” she said. “We were all very excited at this new life then we were left with nothing.”
Rachel thanked staff at both New Cross Hospital’s integrated critical care unit (ICCU) and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, for their care.