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Covid and pregnancy

Pregnancy and your risk

If you’re pregnant your chance of getting COVID-19 is not higher than anyone else and it’s very unlikely you’ll get seriously ill with it.

Pregnant women are in the moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) group as a precaution. This is because you can sometimes be more at risk from viruses like flu if you're pregnant. It's not clear if this happens with COVID-19. But because it's a new virus, it's safer to include pregnant women in the moderate risk group.

Although it's rare for pregnant women to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19, it is more likely later in pregnancy.

It may be possible for you to pass COVID-19 to your baby before they're born. But when this has happened, babies have got better.

There's no evidence COVID-19 causes miscarriage or affects how your baby develops during pregnancy.

Additional risk factors associated with being both infected and hospitalised with COVID-19 include:

  • Those from Ethnic minority backgrounds
  • Those having a BMI above 25 kg/m2
  • Those with a pre-pregnancy co-morbidity (e.g. diabetes or hypertension)
  • Those with a maternal age of 35 years or older
  • Those living in increased socioeconomic deprivation
  • Those working in healthcare or other public-facing occupations.

What is known about COVID-19 in pregnancy?

About two-thirds of women who test positive for COVID-19 in pregnancy have no symptoms at all. In the UK, surveillance shows that approximately one in 100 pregnant women who have been admitted to hospital test positive for COVID-19 (although this will change during the stages of the pandemic).

There is growing evidence that pregnant women may be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant women, particularly in the third trimester. The overall risk of death remains very low.

1 in 10 women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 require intensive care. In the later stages of pregnancy women are at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19.

While the chances of having a stillbirth are low, if you have COVID-19 at the time of birth, you are twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and there may be an association with an increased incidence of small-for-gestational-age babies. A recent study has also found that pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of birth were more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, and more likely to need an emergency caesarean.

In pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19, it is twice as likely that their baby will be born early, exposing the baby to the risk of prematurity. These are primarily iatrogenic preterm births (delivery being required due to the significant impact of Covid on the health and wellbeing of the woman and the need to stabilise an unwell mum).

What to do if you're pregnant

If you're pregnant, it's important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19, such as washing your hands regularly.

If you're more than 28 weeks pregnant it’s especially important to follow this advice.

You still need to go to all of your pregnancy (antenatal) scans and appointments unless you're told not to.

You should consider receiving your Covid-19 immunisation/s.

Covid vaccination in pregnancy

For information on the covid vaccination in pregnancy click here

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