MONTREAL – There is a bevy of resources available to pregnant women to help them navigate their changing bodies and caring for the child they carry.
But with ever-changing information and advice on COVID-19, you won’t likely find much information about the virus, variants, or vaccines and pregnancy, leaving some expecting moms to their own devices.
“When you’re pregnant you search for all kinds of information. I’m always on the web trying to look out for symptoms…but now with COVID, with the variants, there’s no information for me to look for. When it comes, I feel a bit helpless,” said Caroline Vouligny, who is 40 weeks pregnant.
“I know that I’m more at risk but I don’t know more than that.”
Specialists encourage people like Vouligny, 31, who are in the age group of those most affected by variants, to ask their doctor for the best advice.
#WATCH “Pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t be precluded from the vaccine,” says OB-GYN Dr. @GabyCassir of the position of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. She says she’s reassuring her patients that they should be offered a vaccine at any time. pic.twitter.com/e20ChCU2n7
— Alyssia (@rubertuccinews) April 15, 2021
“Pregnant women want that information with regards to what to do if they’re offered the vaccine and what risks they have in COVID and pregnancy,” said Dr. Gabrielle Cassir, an obstetrician-gynecologist.
The data surrounding vaccines and pregnant or breastfeeding women didn’t initially exist during the clinical trials.
“They told us it wasn’t tested on pregnant women [so] you shouldn’t have the vaccine unless you’re part of the at-risk group,” said Vouligny.
“What we do know is there were 20,000 of those women who ended up getting pregnant around the time they got vaccinated for those trials. There were no increased side effects that were observed or even safety signals that were even pointed out,” said Cassir.
According to a recent Harvard study, vaccinations in pregnant women may even provide the baby with antibodies for the virus through the umbilical cord or breastmilk.
“I’m saying maybe I should take it in order for my unborn to get immunization.”
“Pregnant women, breastfeeding women shouldn’t be precluded from the vaccine. I do tell my pregnant population it’s a personal value choice, people have different beliefs. People have different thought processes,” said Cassir.
WATCH: Full interview with Dr. Cassir
As Quebec experiences a mini baby boom, Cassir warns of the risks associated with new variants and pregnancy. She says she witnessed 20 per cent of the ICU at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto consisting of pregnant women.
“We do, unfortunately, know that they are at those heightened risks of hospitalization, ventilation requirements, ICU admissions. And so I always try and just reaffirm that they need to respect the rules and just be more prudent,” she said.
“I feel like if I stay home I will not be as affected, I suppose,” said Vouigny.
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