RCM offers advice to pregnant women as new study shows heightened risk to some communities
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.
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, while understandable, 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.
Commenting, 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. 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. It’s particularly important to let your midwife know if you are worried about your baby’s movements or if you notice blood in your underwear. Equally if you have a cough, feel shivery or have any other symptoms of COVID-19 call your maternity service or midwife immediately.”
As part of the campaign, the RCM has launched a new information poster. The poster reiterates the message that maternity services are open, alongside four key messages: The infographic summarises some 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
- If you are worried about your baby’s movements or have blood in your pants call your midwife immediately.
- 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. Revised guidance from the RCM and RCOG on Coronavirus and pregnancy will reflect these new research findings when published this week.
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. That is why have launched this campaign to reach out to women who are at increased risk.”
To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].
Notes to editors
The four key messages throughout this campaign are:
- Maternity services are open and safe for you and your baby. Your midwife is there to help and support you.
- If you notice any changes in your baby’s movement or if you spot any bleeding, call your midwife for advice straightaway.
- If you feel hot and shivery, or you have a cough that won’t go away, call your midwife or GP for advice.
- Even if you think you have COVID-19, you will still get the same treatment for yourself and your baby – you may just notice some small changes, like your midwife is wearing different equipment, like a bigger mask or a visor.
Taking care of yourself and your baby RCM Infographic:
RCM Advice for Pregnant Women during Covid-19: https://www.rcm.org.uk/advice-for-pregnant-women/
The RCM has also published wraparound guidance for midwives and maternity support workers from BAME backgrounds as evidence emerged that you may more at risk from Covid-19 depending on your race and that can be viewed here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3939/risk-assessment-wraparound-guidance-a3-may-2020.pdf
RCM and RCOG respond to UKOSS study of more than 400 pregnant women hospitalised with coronavirus: https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2020/may/rcm-and-rcog-respond-to-ukoss-study-of-more-than-400-pregnant-women-hospitalised-with-coronavirus/
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.