Sheba to expand COVID-19 maternity ward as more pregnant women get sick

The expanded ward will accommodate women from across the country.

Pregnant woman  (illustrative)  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Pregnant woman (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Sheba Medical Center announced Friday that it would expand its coronavirus maternity ward to accommodate the growing number of pregnant women who are contracting the virus.
The expanded ward will accommodate women from across the country.
“We are witnessing an increase in infection among women in the third trimester, and assume there is a link between the spread of the British variant and this increase,” said Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the hospital’s infectious disease unit. 
She said that she personally monitors the women who arrive at the hospital and that there are too many who arrive for treatment too late, already with serious symptoms.
“I call on pregnant women in the third trimester who have been by a person who has coronavirus or who is suspected of having coronavirus not to delay – get tested,” she said. 
On Thursday, Sheba reported that a 34-year-old pregnant woman was transferred to the hospital and connected to the ECMO heart-lung machine due to deterioration of her condition. The news came against the backdrop of a similar announcement by Beilinson Hospital, which reported that two women who had been admitted around 10 days prior were also connected to ECMO machines. 
“We identified the upward trend in women’s morbidity as early as a few weeks ago and prepared in advance for the possibility of absorbing large numbers of women,” said Prof. Eyal Sivan, director of the Josef Buchmann Gynecology and Maternity Center at Sheba. “We believe that early supervision will prevent complications later on.”
He said the unit would be set up to allow babies to stay with their mothers if possible. However, because so many babies are delivered early, many of them also require treatment.
Hadassah-University Medical Center recently opened a coronavirus pediatric intensive care unit for children with serious cases of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, the Health Ministry said that pregnant women could get vaccinated, and on Thursday, several top doctors published a position paper in which they made their recommendations for specifically when it would be recommended.
According to the experts, women who are high-risk for developing complications should get vaccinated at any time during pregnancy, such as those who are obese, or who have gestational diabetes or hypertension.
However, they advised that if there are no high risks, women should wait to get the shot beginning in their second trimester so as to avoid any suspicion or even “accidental connection” between receiving the vaccine and some of the more common events that can occur in the first trimester. These include bleeding, miscarriages or fetal malformations. 
They said there is no evidence that getting vaccinated could harm the fetus. The doctors also encouraged breastfeeding women to get inoculated.