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Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, in collaboration with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Universities of Leeds and Birmingham, Kings and Imperial Colleges London, have published new research that suggests pregnant women are no more likely to become ill with severe COVID-19 than non-pregnant woman. However, the majority of women who did become severely ill were in their third trimester of pregnancy, emphasising the importance of social distancing for this group.

The study, published today as a pre-print, looked at 427 pregnant women admitted to hospitals in the UK between 1 March and 14 April 2020 with confirmed COVID-19 (4.9 women out of every 1000 pregnant women, suggesting pregnant women are not at a higher risk of experiencing severe illness). Information for the study was collected from all 194 hospitals in the UK with a consultant-led maternity unit.

Pregnant women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to be admitted to hospital for COVID-19. This inequality persisted even when women from London, the West Midlands and the North West were excluded from the analysis, meaning the difference cannot be explained by higher rates of COVID-19 infection in those areas.

The analysis also showed that older pregnant women, those who were overweight or obese, and pregnant women who had pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, were more likely to be admitted to hospital with the infection. Women who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in pregnancy were less likely to smoke than a group of comparison pregnant women.

Read the full story on the Nuffield Department of Population Health website

The story is also featured on the University of Oxford website