Professional bodies respond to UK Government Coronavirus advice for pregnant women

on 17 March 2020

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have responded to the UK Government’s advice for pregnant women during the Conronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The three Royal Colleges are reassuring pregnant women and those who care for them that there is currently no new evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at greater risk from COVID-19 than other healthy individuals, or that they can pass on the virus to their baby while pregnant.

Yesterday’s announcement from the UK Government is a precautionary measure to reduce the theoretical risk to the baby’s growth and a risk of preterm birth should the mother become unwell.

CEO of the RCM, Gill Walton said: “We understand this must be an unsettling time for pregnant women, but we would like to emphasise that attending antenatal and postnatal care when you are pregnant and have a new baby is essential to ensure the wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies, and we urge all pregnant women who are well to attend their care as normal.”

President of RCOG, Mr Edward Morris, said: “We welcome this precautionary approach as COVID-19 is a new virus, but would like to reassure pregnant women that, as things stand, no new evidence has come to light suggesting they are at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell compared with other healthy individuals.

“Research and data are key to monitoring the ongoing situation and the UK Obstetric Surveillance System – UKOSS – will monitor all cases of pregnant women who have a diagnosis of Coronavirus.”

President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Russell Viner, adds: “It’s right that as we gain a better understanding of the virus, we continually review and update the evidence. We know this is a difficult time for many people, not least worried parents. While guidance for pregnant women has been updated, it remains the same for new mums and babies.

“Similarly, our advice is that it’s fine to breastfeed – any potential risks are outweighed by the benefits. We will continue to review the evidence as it emerges.”

Midwives and maternity support workers can check the latest guidance on caring for pregnant women here.