Maternity college’s urge healthcare professionals to provide best care to pregnant and postnatal women with COVID-19
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are urging healthcare professionals to follow their evidence-based COVID-10 in pregnancy guidance after a new report found pregnant and postnatal women aren’t receiving the best treatment when they have the virus.
Learning from SARS-CoV-2-related and associated maternal deaths in the UK June 2020-March 2021, released by MBRRACE-UK, reviewed the care of all pregnant and postnatal women who died with the COVID-19 infection, and women who died and whose care or experience of care was influenced by changes as a consequence of the pandemic.
The report found that only one out of ten women who died from COVID-19 was treated in accordance with the evidence-based guidance developed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives, suggesting that there needs to be wider awareness of how best to treat pregnant and postnatal women with COVID-19.
The report also noted ongoing indirect impacts of the pandemic such that women are fearful of seeking care and may delay accessing help or not seek help at all, even if they have concerns about their baby.
Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Although we are due to see restrictions ease in the UK over the next few weeks, this report is a stark reminder of the potential impacts of COVID-19 in pregnancy and the importance of healthcare professionals following the guidance available to them. We know that pregnant women are at risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19, particularly in their third trimester.
“We recognise at the start of the pandemic the guidance was being updated regularly as new data and evidence emerged. The changes to the guidance are now much less frequent and the updates highlighted at the beginning of the document making it easier for healthcare professionals.
“We would encourage all pregnant women to have the COVID-19 vaccine. It is the safest and most effective way of protecting you and your baby against COVID-19.”
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “There are guidelines in place for the treatment of pregnant women with COVID-19 developed by the RCM, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and other organisations. It is worrying that this guidance is sometimes not adhered to, and it is vital that maternity services follow them so that these women get the safest and best possible care.
“It is also important that all pregnant and postnatal women do not delay getting treatment they may need and that they attend their appointments, be they in person, on a video call or on the telephone. If you have any concerns at all about your pregnancy, yourself or your baby do contact your midwife or health visitor for advice and support.”
Notes to editor
The full report is on the MBRRACE-UK website at https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/mbrrace-uk.
The RCOG/RCM decision aid for pregnant women offered a COVID vaccination is available at: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2021-02-24-combined-info-sheet-and-decision-aid.pdf
The RCOG has developed a range of information on our website for healthcare professionals and pregnant women eligible for COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy www.rcog.org.uk/covid-vaccine
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.
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.