Toronto-After months of enthusiastic follow-up to all the public health advice she heard, a 33-year-old Toronto social worker tested positive for COVID-19 just weeks before she was set to give. Her worst horror became a reality when tested, and her second child was born.
Within a few days, Megan was in the ICU and was fighting not only for his own life, but also for his child’s life.
Even now, after recovering from the tragic trials, she shares her story with the risks associated with becoming infected with COVID-19 and other pregnant women who need to consider vaccination during pregnancy. I wanted to warn people.
“Other women have experienced what I have experienced and do not have to experience the trauma I have experienced,” Megan told CTV News, asking her to be identified by her name alone.
Data from Canada show that pregnant women are five times more likely to be infected and hospitalized than non-pregnant women. This may be due to hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy.
However, pregnant women were not originally included in Phase 3 trials conducted by vaccine makers, so many were uncertain whether they would be vaccinated during pregnancy.
Megan, who was infected with the virus when she was more than eight months pregnant, still does not know how she got infected.
She works in healthcare, but most work from home and attend work directly only one day a week.
“We do everything online and pick up groceries, not go to the store,” she told CTV News. “I’m very, very enthusiastic. I do virtually everything and wash my hands constantly. I’m so, very careful, I really don’t know.”
When I started feeling extremely tired in March, I initially thought I was in late pregnancy. Then she coughed.
When she went to take the test and the results returned positive, she was “completely and completely shocked.
“I felt like most.” Oh my god, I [got] The plague, “she said. “I managed to escape this for a year, and I seem to be a few weeks after giving birth, and I’m COVID positive.”
Her condition deteriorated rapidly as she developed double pneumonia caused by COVID-19.
Tests have shown that she has the first variant to appear in South Africa. She was confident that she could manage her condition at home and asked for discharge, but soon returned.
It didn’t take long for her to get very ill, so doctors were thinking about putting her on a ventilator.
“I didn’t know what would happen to me,” Megan said emotionally. “I didn’t know what would happen to the baby. It I couldn’t talk to anyone, I was completely alone.”
She may have felt lonely, but she wasn’t the only one to experience this struggle.
“”[The doctors] Last month, I saw more pregnant women infected with COVID and becoming more severely ill than I had seen throughout the year. Many are related to the epidemic of these variants, “said Megan.
According to sources, there are currently five pregnant women in one ICU in Toronto, accounting for more than 20% of the unit’s beds.
In Canada, doctors estimate that more than 4,000 pregnant women are infected with COVID-19. Since March 2020, there have been approximately 1,133 hospitalizations for severe COVID-19, and approximately 66 of those patients have reached the ICU.
Doctors say the numbers may be even higher these days.
Dr. John Barrett, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McMaster University in Hamilton, currently has two such patients in the ICU.
“Pregnancy is an important risk factor. There were no other identifiable risk factors I’ve seen recently,” he said. “And I think it’s probably a little different from the previous waves. [where] We often had an additional risk factor underlying pregnancy, but now the only risk factor is the fact that you are pregnant. “
“And from the current data we are collecting more and more, it is very clear that pregnant women are at high risk of going to the hospital and going to the intensive care unit.”
Pregnancy complicates the medical response because there are two patients who need attention, Barrett explained.
In some cases he saw, doctors had to perform an emergency caesarean section to save the baby and mother. One of his patients had to have a caesarean section at a shy 7-month gestation this week.
When Megan was in the hospital fighting COVID-19, she said she desperately wanted her pregnancy to be unsurprising.
“I was praying to God that my baby would be safe and able to go home and stick to the plans I had made,” she said. “You know, we make plans, and God laughs.”
She gave birth in the intensive care unit, but was still connected to an oxygen machine and had a high fever.
“I couldn’t eat or drink anything in case I was taken to the operating room,” she said. “They had no idea how my labor would proceed. I was completely suffering.”
In the turmoil of the COVID-19 ICU, the nurse held her hand and the contraction struck her body.
Another annoying problem is that because of the potential toxicity to the baby, the doctor was uncertain whether to administer certain medications that would help her illness.
“They gave it to me when I was in labor. […] I had crashed, “she said. “They took me X-rays again and saw the pneumonia spread further and decided that the benefits of giving the drug outweighed the risks because I was so ill.”
According to Barrett, the increase in pregnant women who become severely ill with COVID-19 is due to several reasons. The variants currently in circulation are more easily transmitted. This means that even those who strictly follow health recommendations, such as those who are worried about staying safe for pregnancy, can become infected with the virus. Young people are also susceptible to the virus, which is a cohort that is likely to be pregnant.
“When we first started the pandemic, it didn’t seem because pregnancy was an increased risk.[s] I started out of other countries, “Barrett said. “It has become very clear that pregnancy is an additional risk factor.”
Dr. Deborah Money, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia, told CTV News that doctors are “more likely to be hospitalized or admitted to the ICU.” […] Non-pregnant women of the same age group. “
At first attention dominated the day due to the lack of vaccines and data surrounding pregnant people. Initially, pregnant people were not advised to get vaccinated.
Regulations have changed, pregnant people have been encouraged to get vaccinated and prioritized in Phase 2 of Ontario’s deployment, but public perceptions may not have changed, doctors fear ..
“I think pregnant women generally have a lot of concerns. […] About drug selection and vaccination, “Money said. “We hopefully moved the dial with the general advice around us. [the] Vaccines and pregnancy. “
Earlier this year, Pfizer announced that it would conduct clinical trials of the vaccine in pregnant women. Canadian guidelines suggest that pregnant women should consider vaccination in the second and third semesters, and Megan’s story is a good warning.
“We hope women realize that vaccines during pregnancy are actually beneficial to them and often to infants,” Money told CTV News.
“I think these personal stories will look more real to people.”
Megan successfully accomplished it through her labor, and baby Jonah was finally delivered through a Caesarean section. But the experience was traumatic.
“They literally turned him to my face for a moment,” she said. “And took him away, and I couldn’t see him for another 10 days after he was born. It was a completely different level of trauma.”
She had to be actively treated with steroids to help her recover from childbirth without ventilation. But after spending another week in the hospital, she was finally able to go home with her baby.
“I still have symptoms from COVID, but it’s much better than last week,” she said.
She is still taking anticoagulants to prevent blood clots and has a prolonged cough. She said it might have changed the situation if she was eligible to be vaccinated before this trial.
“I wasn’t in the qualified category yet because I wasn’t facing the patient,” she said. “And I was so close to childbirth that some of my doctors said,” Just wait, your risk level is low. ” And, literally, it took me another day to go to the hospital for work, during which time I got it. “
She wants other pregnant women to know that if they have the opportunity to get vaccinated, they shouldn’t control their fears. Being infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy is a never-ending experience for her.
“I don’t hesitate to get it pregnant,” she said. “And I didn’t even doubt it. Both vaccines are approved. I recommend that all pregnant women be vaccinated without their son thinking. It’s safe. It helps. Become [so] You do not experience what I have experienced. ”
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