This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Case study: "It gave me the confidence that I was going to be looked after during my vaccination journey." Preg-CoV participant encourages mums-to-be to get involved

Debbie participated in Preg-CoV at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, and is recommending the study to other pregnant women

The Preg-CoV study compares vaccines currently used for the UK vaccination programme, as well as new vaccines as they are approved, during pregnancy. It will also provide vital data on the immune response to vaccination at different dose intervals - either four to six weeks or eight to 10 weeks.

Findings from the study will help determine the best dosage interval and tell us more about how the vaccine works to protect pregnant mothers and their babies against COVID-19. Debbie, from Cornwall, spoke to us about her time on the study.

Why did you get involved in the Preg-Cov Study?

In the early part of my pregnancy I felt a huge amount of pressure to know how best to protect myself and my baby. I was stressed and being very cautious to avoid contracting the virus, as cases in Cornwall continued to rise. It was a very anxious and isolating time. In the end, I decided that I would hold out until my 20-week scan, then revisit the decision whether or not to get vaccinated after knowing all was well. My main concern was, will my baby be ok?

It was during this time that I came across a Facebook post advertising the Preg-CoV study, which was full of information and how to register. Taking part in a study specific to pregnant women, and having dedicated healthcare professionals monitor me and baby closely as I received the vaccines felt like the best thing I could do.

It was only after joining this study I slowly began to relax and begin to enjoy my pregnancy, with less stress and fear around COVID.

Did you have many questions and concerns before joining? Were these addressed by the study team?

I had so many questions and concerns, which were all addressed by the study team. I even got to hear my baby’s heartbeat, and the thorough assessment I underwent before receiving my first vaccination gave me the comfort and confidence that myself and my baby were in safe hands. Everything was thoroughly explained to me step by step and nothing was carried out until I fully understood and gave my consent.

I was provided with an online diary to keep a daily record of how I felt following vaccination, and a thermometer to keep an eye on my temperature, as well as a 24-hour helpline if I had any further concerns or questions following vaccination.

What would you say to other women thinking of joining the study?

I strongly urge those who have heard about the study to join it, or at least contact the study team for further information. It changed my whole pregnancy experience being pregnant during a pandemic, and I have felt much safer since joining.

While our NHS and midwives are so stretched and under pressure during this time, my research team provided further support during pregnancy and beyond.

Why do you think more pregnant women should join the study?

Participating gives women the opportunity to gain further information and have their questions answered, and a safe space to raise concerns. There is absolutely no pressure or obligation to join the study, and if at your initial assessment you are still not confident you can change your mind and not participate.

What do you think the benefits of joining the study are?

I have now received both my COVID vaccinations through the study, while being pregnant, along with the recommended whooping cough vaccine, which the study also provided. I have also had my flu vaccine at my local GP surgery, which the study team also provided support with.

I continue to experience a healthy pregnancy, with the added protection for myself and baby to see us through the winter. I am now 32 weeks pregnant and even though I am double vaccinated, the study team will continue to review me right up to birth and afterwards.

Taking part has helped immensely with the anxieties and feelings of isolation I was experiencing before joining. I feel that I can now enjoy these last few weeks knowing that I have done everything I can to protect myself and baby during such a difficult time.

The Preg-CoV study is running across 14 NIHR-supported sites in England, including the Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust. If you are interested in the study, or know someone who could be eligible, you can find out more by visiting the study’s website or reading the latest press release.