Pregnant women in Milton Keynes advised to attend appointments after COVID-19 infection

    Pregnant women are being urged to continue attending healthcare appointments following a COVID-19 infection.

    It follows preliminary reports of four stillbirths that could be linked to the virus in Ireland.

    Professor Keelin O'Donoghue, a consultant obstetrician at Cork University Maternity Hospital, said the cases appeared to be a "rare complication" of COVID-19, but she acknowledged that it was "pretty scary" for pregnant women hearing this information.

    "We're still investigating," she told RTE Radio 1's Morning Ireland programme. "What we could have here is a cluster by complete chance."

    She said the advice for pregnant women "at a simple level" was to "try not to get COVID", and to get the coronavirus vaccination when it becomes available.

    "For those who have COVID... it's really important that their health care providers know, and that women attend their visits as normal," she said.

    "Women shouldn't be afraid to attend hospital, and they should speak up if there's any concerns about foetal wellbeing or if they experience reduced movements."

    She added: "We should assess women who've had COVID, a minimum of 14 days after their infection, and undertake an ultrasound to check foetal wellbeing and women should certainly not ignore any signs of concerns that they might have and should be listened to when they presented to the maternity hospitals."

    Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said on Thursday that public health officials had been made aware of four preliminary reports of stillbirths potentially associated with a condition called COVID placentitis. At least two of the cases have been this year.

    He said he had to wait for the full data to come through and warned the reports should be interpreted with "caution" as the coroners have not yet concluded their findings and that the HSE's National Women and Infants Programme is monitoring the situation.

    Sky News

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