The experience of being pregnant during a pandemic and specifically during the third wave of infections in South Africa has been a challenge for many. Despite the advice put forward by the South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to get vaccinated after the 14th week of pregnancy, or even while breastfeeding, some women still feel hesitant about being vaccinated during their pregnancies.
Not so, well-known violin-virtuoso Davina Gordon-Goliath, who found that being vaccinated, gave her the peace of mind she needed during her pregnancy. In March 2021, she and comedian Donavan Goliath broke the news of their pregnancy to their fans and followers, followed by a very creative gender reveal post in April where they announced that they were expecting a baby girl.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was actually still recovering from a case of Covid I caught in December and attributed the symptoms to that. After I discovered I was pregnant, I found myself having sleepless nights thinking about how I was going to stay safe and keep baby safe,” says Davina. “No parent wants to put their child at risk, so you do whatever you can to keep the environment safe and control your anxiety, as that has an effect on baby too.”
Studies have shown that the risk for critical illness is higher for pregnant than non-pregnant women, particularly in the 3rd trimester. Taking the vaccine means a potential reduction in the risk of Pulmonary TB associated with Covid-19 and a reduction in the risk of passing on the virus to vulnerable members of the household, so it is the recommended method of protecting yourself, especially during pregnancy, as well as those around you.
“My Gynae encouraged me to have the vaccination, and she explained that some of the vaccine protection would also be passed down to baby. It didn’t take any persuasion; I believe the scientists and I trust the facts. I know that you are able to manage symptoms so much better without being hospitalised, and that was enough of a good reason for me,” adds Davina. “I got my first Pfizer dose at 34 weeks and was completely supported by family and friends in making that decision to protect us both. My whole family and most of my friends have already been vaccinated, and I suffered no side effects other than a bit of a sore arm, which is nothing in the larger scheme of things.”
The rest of the pregnancy was free of complications, and Davina and Donavan were delighted to welcome little Sophia Mae Goliath into the world in August 2021. “What a surreal experience this has been, and into what strange circumstances she has been born,” says Davina. “You’re anticipating this huge event, and yet nothing can prepare you for the sight and sounds of your baby. We were overwhelmed with emotion, and our lives are forever changed! She may have been born into a dark time, but she is truly a light that we all needed.”
For Davina, getting vaccinated during her pregnancy was the right choice for her, her baby and the extended family. If you are unsure about whether to take that step during your pregnancy, chat to your healthcare provider, who will be able to answer any concerns you may have.
Catch Davina on Instagram