The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists has released official guidelines to outline information for pregnant women and new mums surrounding the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Try not to worry and follow any advice in these guidelines. We are updating this page as new information is published.
What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women?
Pregnant women were placed in a vulnerable group by the Chief Medical Officer on 16 March. This means you have been advised to reduce social contact through social distancing measures. This is a precautionary measure.
Pregnancy can alter how your body handles severe viral infections in some women. This is something that midwives and doctors have known for many years and are used to dealing with. However, all available evidence suggests that pregnant women are at no greater risk of becoming seriously unwell than other healthy adults if they get coronavirus.The large majority of pregnant women experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms.
Are some pregnant women more at risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus than others?
In the UK, information about all pregnant women requiring admission to hospital with coronavirus is recorded in a registry called the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS). Data from this study of 427 pregnant women in May 2020 found the majority of women who have become severely ill were in their third trimester of pregnancy. Therefore, it’s important to pay particular attention to social distancing from 28 weeks of pregnancy.
The study also found some pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing serious illness, including:
- pregnant women from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds
- women over the age of 35
- women who are overweight or obese
- women who have pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Healthcare professionals are also being advised that women known to be at higher risk should be told at each contact that they may be at risk of complications of coronavirus. If any of the above applies to you, try to seek help early if you are concerned about your health or your baby’s.If you are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background your maternity team may book you additional appointments, or refer you to a doctor or specialist clinic if there are any concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
I am pregnant – what do I need to do?
As a precaution, you should follow government advice about social distancing, stay away from public places and avoid anyone who has possible coronavirus symptoms. It is still considered necessary for pregnant women to go out for essentials, such as food shopping, exercise and to attend antenatal appointments.