Pregnant women a ‘disproportionate’ number of Covid ICU admissions

Pregnant Women A ‘Disproportionate’ Number Of Covid Icu Admissions Pregnant Women A ‘Disproportionate’ Number Of Covid Icu Admissions
All maternity hospitals will meanwhile receive new guidance from the HSE today, urging them to further ease restrictions. Photo: PA Images.
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Vivienne Clarke

Pregnant women account for a “disproportionate” number of Covid-19 related intensive care admissions in Ireland, the HSE’s clinical director of women and infants' health has said.

Dr Peter McKenna was responding to a question about the rising number of pregnant women in intensive care units (ICU) with the disease in Northern Ireland.

“The current variant of the virus is more aggressive when it comes to dealing with pregnant women,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Pregnant women had comprised a “disproportionate” number of the people in ICU in the Republic as well, he added.

Dr McKenna gave updated figures on Covid-19 and problematic pregnancies such as placentitis, when the placenta becomes infected with Covid-19.

Six stillbirths had occurred in no change since April, there had been one late miscarriage, and four or more “near” miscarriages, which he explained meant early intervention or delivery was required to save the baby’s life.

Hospital restrictions


It comes as all maternity hospitals are to receive new guidance from the HSE today, urging them to further ease restrictions.

Under the new measures, partners will be able to attend 12-week scans and C-sections. This is already the case in several hospitals, but the HSE said it will become standard across all units.

The HSE said all hospitals are compliant with current guidelines, which includes access to 20-week anomaly scans.

Dr McKenna said under current social distancing measures, it will not be possible for partners to accompany pregnant women to outpatient appointments.

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Hospitals were finding it difficult to cope with social distancing measures for the pregnant women alone and could not cope with partners too, he said.

Dr McKenna added that restrictions on visitors, not including partners, remained in place at maternity units as at all hospitals, with stricter restrictions in some hospitals where there had been an outbreak of Covid-19.

On the issue of distinguishing between emergency and elective C-sections, Dr McKenna said the reason was down to the type of anaesthetic administered.

The presence of a partner in a theatre when a pregnant woman was under a general anaesthetic would be a “distraction” as the woman was asleep.

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