Feelings about risks around Covid-19

We talked to pregnant women about how they felt about the risks of Covid-19. As the pandemic was such a unique time for many, their ideas about how the risks of Covid-19 could be different to more routine illnesses. There were some specific things about Covid-19 itself as an illness that impacted on pregnant women’s decisions to accept the vaccination.  The women talked about their views on how much Covid-19 is around and whether they felt that being pregnant put them at more risk from the illness.

The following information was collected from women and is comprised of their personal viewpoints about vaccination

Views on prevalence of Covid-19

How women felt about how much Covid-19 was around at the time was an important factor in the decisions they made. Some felt that the risk of Covid-19 was low, as there was not as much of it in the news, and fewer people around were getting ill from it. Some people felt that Covid-19 had passed, and it was no longer something to worry about, and therefore did not feel the vaccination was important.*1

Evidence box
*1 Although Covid-19 is not as prominent as it was at the height of the pandemic, it is still present, and vaccination is still important.

And it’s really surreal actually. You know, like, when they play, like, a clip of, like, on the news of what, what the news was like at the time being in lockdown and things like that, it, it almost feels like a different world, like a different scenario we’ve lived through it but we’ve, kind of, moved on.
Jodie, 35-44
I know that COVID’s a thing, but ... I don't know, I feel like it was all blown up and then, kind of, it’s kind of died down.
Ida, 35-44

The Covid-19 pandemic increased how aware some pregnant women were of their health, illness and how vulnerable they felt.

Yes. I think I’ve become more worried about my health. I’ve changed my diet. I’m exercising a lot. I’m more, like, focussed on my health…. ‘Cause I had a really close friend who had COVID so many times... and since then, she had, like, more severe health problems….Really made me aware of my health.
Marika, 18-24

Feelings about risks of catching Covid-19 in pregnancy

Some pregnant women did not feel particularly at risk from Covid-19 just because they were pregnant. Some had caught Covid-19 before and, as they had not been too ill, were not concerned about getting it whilst pregnant.*2

Evidence box
*2 Covid-19 can have very serious consequences for pregnant women, potentially causing severe illness, admission to hospital and intensive care and (in very severe cases) death.

And so I feel like, if I had had, like, a couple of bouts of really bad COVID, or if I’d been, again, in a risk group, I think it would’ve changed my mind. But because I haven’t actually tested positive or been massively affected by it.
Hollie, 25-34
I’ve had COVID whilst I was pregnant, and .... I wasn’t particularly unwell with it. I sort of had, like, flu-like symptoms that were, were manageable with, sort of ... mild pain relief and, sort of, drinking fluids and, and resting.
Philippa, 25-34

Some pregnant women were worried about the risks of Covid-19, particularly whilst pregnant. These women felt more cautious and took precautions to avoid catching Covid-19.

I’m also quite conscious of COVID, so, like, I probably would’ve accessed a bit more stuff in, in pregnancy. Like, I probably would’ve gone to the gym and stuff like that, whereas, at the minute, I’m just feeling like, 'cause I, I ... Because I work in the NHS, I’m aware of when there’s surges …. And, obviously, there’s been surges over spring, and I’m just thinking, “Oh, yeah, no, I’d rather stay away. I don’t wanna risk it”.
Shreya, 35-44

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