Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, said:
"These are extremely worrying findings and highlight the extent to which the approach taken to the COVID-19 vaccine has failed pregnant women. The government must learn vital lessons from the last two years, and ensure that going forwards the healthcare needs of pregnant women are not an afterthought, but front and center of policy. The current "Get Boosted Now" drive is welcome, but woefully overdue.
Fundamentally, we need to challenge a climate in which women are expected to avoid any possible risk to a pregnancy - even in the absence of evidence of harm - and indeed increasingly expected to take precautions to mitigate risk even before they are pregnant. This has laid the foundation for the problems that we see today with vaccine uptake. As this study demonstrates, this precautionary approach can have devastating consequences. Pregnant women routinely struggle to access the medications they need- for pregnancy related issues like severe sickness and also for existing conditions such as depression - on the basis that "nothing is safe" in pregnancy. We need to urgently re-evaluate how we communicate risk in pregnancy – and ensure women’s own health needs are deemed as important as – and indeed not mutually exclusive from – those of her fetus."
The study is available online here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2021/covid-19-linked-to-complications-during-pregnancy
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’firstname.lastname@example.org or 07881 265276.
BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/