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Home » Rest in peace, Siti Sarah: What you should know about pregnancy and Covid-19

Rest in peace, Siti Sarah: What you should know about pregnancy and Covid-19

    “Covid-19 is real”
    , repeated Shahmira Muhamad, 36, popularly known as Shuib Sepahtu at least four times in his Instagram live video, reminding his viewers not to take Covid-19 lightly.

    This revelation came as his wife, Siti Sarah Raisuddin, 33, a celebrated singer, passed away on Aug 9. Siti Sarah breathed her last three days after giving birth prematurely to their fourth child while battling Covid-19.

    As numbers continue to rise, Covid-19 is affecting more families like Shuib’s. Fathers losing sons, daughters losing mothers, grandparents burying their grandchildren; this is the harsh reality we must face as we move towards the status of a fully vaccinated nation.

    “Covid-19 is real!”

    Let’s take a moment to pray that Shuib Sepahtu and his family can patiently weather this trying time.

    Covid-19 can be impactful especially for expectant mothers. Here are five important things on pregnancy and Covid-19 for your awareness.

    Covid-19 can be impactful especially for expectant mothers. Here are five important things on pregnancy and Covid-19 that you should know.

    1. Pregnant women, especially in their second and third trimester, are considered more vulnerable to severe Covid-19 infections

    Compared to non-pregnant women, it’s more likely for pregnant and recently pregnant women with COVID-19 to require ICU admission and invasive ventilation, reports Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) in its guidelines.

    Included in the guidelines, a study in Mexico involving 5183 pregnant and 5183 non-pregnant matched women showed that pregnant women with Covid-19 had a higher probability of death, pneumonia and ICU admission compared to non-pregnant women.

    2. Covid-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women

    Is it safe for pregnant women to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

    The quick answer is YES.

    Which COVID-19 vaccine is the safest for pregnant women?

    There are many arguments about which vaccines are safe for pregnant women. MOH reports that all vaccines currently administered in Malaysia i.e. Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinovac are suitable for pregnant women.

    Being pregnant and unvaccinated has a higher mortality rate for both the mother and baby compared to vaccinated pregnant women.

    3. Breastfeeding women who have received COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breast milk which could help protect their babies

    Vaccine benefits BOTH the mother and baby.

    Breastfeeding your babies has a lot of benefits including for your babies to get their antibodies through you! So do get your vaccine as the antibodies could protect the baby from Covid-19, as reported by Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV).

    4. First dose of Covid-19 vaccine is to be administered between 14-33 weeks of pregnancy

    MOH recommends administering the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine between 14-33 weeks of pregnancy to confer protection before the late second and third trimester. The second dose is recommended to be administered beyond 33 weeks based on the specific vaccine’s schedule.

    Note that vaccination for the first dose beyond 33 weeks is still possible based on individual assessments by doctors, according to MOH. So even if you’re past 33 weeks, please consult your attending doctor for vaccination advice.

    For those pregnant under 14 weeks, register and arrange for vaccination early to put your mind at ease.

    5. Women who have completed their vaccination can start pregnancy immediately

    There’re rumours going around saying that Covid-19 vaccines can cause miscarriage or even infertility.

    You can put your worry to rest. MOH reports that COVID-19 vaccines DO NOT affect fertility or future reproductive health. This is consistent with existing findings globally.

    Ensure that you’ve completed your vaccination before trying to conceive and please continue using contraception if you’re in between doses!

    Having a baby during these uncertain times definitely taints the excitement with a lot of anxiety… but getting Covid-19 vaccines is no longer a personal choice as it also affects people around you including the little one on your life support. Think long and hard. It’s a life-and-death decision.

    Additionally, seek ONLY medical advice from professionals to protect yourself and your little one. Do not believe circulations on messaging apps unless they are verified by someone qualified. Please sift through Covid-19-related information or any other information that you get!

    As an added protection for you and your loved ones, consider life and medical insurance to prepare for life’s unexpected moments. Don’t rush. Speak first with insurance experts at Bjak to clear any confusion you may have.

    (Sources: Ministry of Health, Malaysia, Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), The Edge Markets)