It is not meant to be a delivery in the intensive care unit. Ultrasound to hear the beating heart of a baby should not be accompanied by an expectant mother who is unconscious.
But Calgary obstetrician Dr. Stephanie Cooper said this is happening inside Alberta hospitals, as the number of unvaccinated pregnant women who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms is increasing.
“This is unprecedented, dangerous and frightening, especially for a single mother without the support of family members.”
“We need to make it real so that they can think about a vaccine, even if they hesitate,” Cooper said.
Together Online information by Alberta Health Services With regards to vaccines and pregnancy, Cooper has started her own education campaign to create stickers and buttons for awareness for her pregnant patients.
She said the heartbreaking conversations she had with her patients forced her to do something.
“I’ve had conversations with my patients and said: ‘You’re getting sick, if you go to the ICU and are on a ventilator, you’ll be asleep and when you sleep, we may have to give birth’ And we’ll take videos and pictures and we do everything but you’re not able to see your baby when you wake up,” Cooper said.
“Talking with a woman while she’s gasping for breath is terrifying and they’re scared.”
According to obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Colin Birch, 16 pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms since August 2021.
“Not every patient admitted to the ICU in Calgary and pregnant was vaccinated,” Burch said.
“The first wave we didn’t see in the ICU, the second wave we saw four, the third we saw 12 and the fourth we saw 16. You can see the increase.”
Last August, five babies were born prematurely.
“There are annoying decisions. The decision we make to give birth prematurely for the betterment of the mother is a painful decision,” Birch said.
“We do a lot of soul-searching. I ask myself: ‘Did I make the right decision to have a premature baby?’ Recognizing the complications that may occur but realizing that I delivered the baby as ICU management has reached the end of its possible management and is a last resort.
“I don’t want to sound dramatic but it’s a huge decision.”
New mom Tatyana Rideout was hospitalized with complications from COVID-19 after giving birth to her son Bobby.
“It was tough and I thought I’d made it so long, I thought I’d make it,” Rideout said.
“The plan was to get vaccinated later. I wish I had been vaccinated.”