Released on: 15 January 2021
Data reported today suggests that greater numbers of pregnant women are being treated in intensive care settings for COVID-19. This is bound to raise questions from expectant parents at an already anxious time.
Pregnant women have been considered a clinically vulnerable group since the start of the pandemic, not because they were identified as being at higher risk of severe illness but as a precautionary measure. There are many different circumstances in the current wave of infection, including increased rates of infection amongst younger age groups, expanded test procedures and better developed approaches to patient care. Hospital caregivers are aware that they are looking after two lives - a mother and baby – and this may mean taking extra caution.
It is important not to trigger undue alarm - the overall number of pregnant women needing intensive care treatment is low. However, it's vital that pregnant women and their partners are able to follow the guidance, which advises that they pay particular attention to infection control and social distancing to minimise their risk.
We support the calls from Maternity Action, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives to adapt the furlough scheme to protect women who are 28 weeks pregnant or beyond or otherwise clinically vulnerable. This is important for women who are not able to work from home. We also want to see funding prioritised for research focusing on the suitability and safety of Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy.