Happy National Women’s Day (9 August) August 6, 2021


The South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists marks National Women’s Day 2021 by encouraging all women to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to protect themselves against severe disease.  This includes women who are pregnant and those who are breastfeeding.  In the case of pregnant women, SASOG recommends taking the vaccine after 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Studies show that the risk for critical illness is higher for pregnant than non-pregnant women, particularly in the 3rd trimester.  It has been found that, while most women will have no COVID-19 symptoms in pregnancy, pregnant women who experience COVID-19 symptoms have a higher risk of being admitted to ICU, needing mechanical ventilation and dying, than non-pregnant women of the same age.  Taking the vaccine also means a potential reduction in the risk of Pulmonary TB associated with Covid-19 and a reduction in the risk of passing on the virus to vulnerable members of the household.

While there is a lack of information on pregnancies during vaccine trials, there is mounting evidence that taking the vaccine during pregnancy is safe for both mother and fetus and that the vaccine provides protection of the newborn from Covid-19.

SASOG also recommends that women who are planning to become pregnant or undergo fertility treatment should become vaccinated and need not delay conception.

“If you are uncertain about which vaccine you should take or the risks that the vaccine poses to you or your baby, we strongly advise that you consult your doctor or clinic who will be able to provide you with the most up to date and reliable information to assist you in making your decision”, concludes Dr Haynes van der Merwe, SASOG President.

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