There are renewed calls from Wales' top medic for pregnant women to get the Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible, saying it is safe and effective at all stages.
This follows the rise in the number of unvaccinated pregnant women being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 who are experiencing serious illness.
The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) both recommend vaccination as one of the best defences against severe infection.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, said: “COVID-19 infection in pregnancy carries a significant risk of hospital admission, whilst pregnant women appear no more or less likely to contract the virus, growing evidence shows that pregnant women may be at increased risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19 compared with the rest of the population, particularly in the third trimester.
“The Covid-19 vaccine can protect mums and babies from avoidable harm", Dr Atherton said.
"We now have a lot of worldwide experience to know that the vaccine is safe and effective at all stages of pregnancy – women shouldn’t wait, take it as soon as possible whether planning pregnancy or already pregnant".
Dr Atherton said the vaccine was based on science that had been used safely on pregnant women for many years and reassured people that the vaccine itself cannot give someone the virus.
“The COVID-19 vaccine can be given at any time of a pregnancy", he added. "I would encourage people to contact their health board if they have not accepted their offer. The latest evidence and medical professionals agree that the vaccine provides the greatest protection from COVID-19.”