56% of pregnant women in hospital with COVID-19 from BAME groups, says study

on 09 June 2020

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) more than half of pregnant women admitted to hospital with coronavirus (COVID-19) were from black, Asian or other ethnic minority groups (BAME).

The study, conducted across 194 obstetric units in the UK, found that 56% of pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 and admitted to hospital were from BAME communities.

427 pregnant women were admitted to hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 14 April 2020.

Commenting on the study, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) CEO Gill Walton said: “Clear and urgent direction and leadership is needed from the government to tackle this issue. Even before the pandemic women from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to die in and around their pregnancy. Crisis has exacerbated this, putting women at risk. Help and support is there for these women, but we need to ensure it is accessible for the communities most in need of it.”

Further information about the research can be found here.

The RCM has produced an active campaign to reassure pregnant women that help and support is still available to them during this time.

The poster campaign highlights key messages:

  • If you have a cough, are breathless or feel hot and shivery, call your midwife
  • Attend all your appointments. Some maybe by phone or via video call
  • If you’re worried about your baby’s movements or if you are bleeding call your midwife immediately
  • Make a private space for you and your midwife during home visits

“Despite the huge efforts of midwives and their maternity colleagues, black and Asian women are still at unacceptable risk. The system is failing them and that has got to change quickly, because they matter, their lives matter and they deserve the best and safest care,” Gill Walton added.