New advice issued to pregnant women after study shows heightened risk to BAME families

A new UK study revealed that 55% of women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Laura Townsend
14 May 2020
Midwife

Senior midwives are launching a targeted campaign to raise awareness and reassure pregnant mothers.

As a new UK study revealed that 55% of women admitted to hospital with coronavirus were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has launched a campaign to offer greater support and advice.

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The study, carried out by the University of Oxford, found that women from BAME backgrounds are at a higher risk of experiencing more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The RCM is concerned that anxiety about possible exposure to COVID-19 is preventing women from attending “vital” antenatal appointments or seeking help if they have any concerns about their pregnancy.

With women from BAME backgrounds at increased risk, the RCM is launching a targeted campaign to raise awareness and reassure pregnant mothers and their families that help is available.

Speaking directly to pregnant women, Zeenath Uddin, the RCM’s Head of Safety and Quality, said: “We want to reassure women that, even in the current crisis, maternity services are open, and midwives are there to support and care for you and your baby.

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“Some of your appointments may be carried out over the phone, but that does not mean they are less important. Keeping in touch with your midwife will help you and your baby stay safe and well.

As part of the campaign, the RCM has launched a new information poster highlighting four key messages;

  • If you have a cough, are breathless or feel hot and shivery, call your midwife.
  • Attend all your appointments – some may be by phone or via video.
  • If you are worried about your baby’s movements or have blood in your pants call your midwife at once.
  • Make a private space for you and your midwife during home visits.

The RCM is also developing new guidance for midwives and maternity support workers to ensure that they are aware of the increased risks for BAME women and can pass on relevant advice and support to the women in their care.

Zeenath added: “There is an urgent need to find out why women from certain ethnic groups are more likely to become seriously unwell if they contract COVID-19. However, it’s important that we do what we can now to support women from BAME backgrounds to ensure they receive the right care during their pregnancy.”

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