Covid Scotland: 'I'm pregnant, I've had the vaccine and it was absolutely fine'

A pregnant woman has shared her experience of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine as doctors urge other mothers-to-be to take up the offer.

It comes after the Royal College of Midwives reported a rise in pregnant women attending maternity units in Scotland with “severe” symptoms of Covid-19.

Islay Mactaggart, 36, had her first dose at around 14 weeks and her second around 12 weeks later.

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She is now at 28 weeks into her pregnancy.

Islay Mactaggart has had both Covid vaccine doses.

Glasgow-based Ms Mactaggart, who works for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said she was “absolutely fine” after both jags, and felt no side effects apart from being a bit under the weather for 24 hours after the second dose.

She discussed the decision of whether or not to get vaccinated with her husband, and weighed up the information available about the increased risk of stillbirth and preterm delivery associated with Covid, compared to any potential risk from taking a vaccine.

“On the balance of the information that was available, my husband and I felt [the vaccine] seemed the most safe option,” she said.

“We knew reasonably quickly that that's what we wanted to do.”

Ms Mactaggart still feels she made the right decision.

“I feel confident and, as more information comes out I think I feel even more confident, that we have made the right decision,” she said.

“All the health care providers that I spoke to having made the decision were all very positive about it.”

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Ms Mactaggart said she felt while each person should do what’s right for them, there was now even more reason for pregnant women to take up the offer of a vaccine and not wait until the end of their pregnancy.

"As the months go on there's more and more real world data showing no adverse effects,” she said.

“More babies are being born, they're all absolutely fine, the mothers are fine, and there’s also more and more data about women who are pregnant who haven't been vaccinated in hospital with serious complications.”

Chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith issued a fresh call for pregnant women to take up the vaccine on Saturday, after the UK Obstetric Service (UKOSS) published research that showed an increase in the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 across the UK.

“Recent data shows the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has risen and that is concerning,” he said.

"Evidence suggests that the Delta variant may be associated with an increased risk of severe illness among hospitalised pregnant women.

“We want all pregnant women to have the information they need to make an informed choice, so if you have any concerns or questions, please speak to your midwife, GP, or go along to a drop-in clinic.

"By far the best course of action for you and your baby is to get both doses of the vaccine.”

Dr Smith has written to health boards and GPs with more advice about discussing the Covid vaccine with pregnant patients and encouraging them to take it up.

The NCT has also encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated.

Director of impact and engagement Sarah McMullen said: “We strongly encourage pregnant women to consider having the Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible. Many pregnant women remain unvaccinated and clinically vulnerable.”

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