New guidance for healthcare professionals on Coronavirus infection in pregnancy has been published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Public Health England (PHE) and Health Protection Scotland.

The RCOG has stated in its new guidance that GPs who are more than 28 weeks pregnant, or who are pregnant and have underlying health conditions, should avoid direct patient contact during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The RCOG has also published information for pregnant women and their families, and Q&As relating to the new guidance, which was updated on 21 March 2020.

The guidance covers the most up-to-date advice on how Coronavirus affects pregnant women and their unborn babies, how labour and birth should be managed in women with suspected or confirmed Coronavirus, as well as information on neonatal care and infant feeding.

RCOG President Dr Edward Morris said: “This guidance has been written to ensure maternity units across the country are providing consistent and safe care to pregnant women with suspected or confirmed Coronavirus infection, and that every effort is taken to minimise the potential spread of the infection to medical staff or other patients. As this is a very new virus we are just beginning to learn about it, so the guidance will be kept under regular review as new evidence emerges.

“Over the coming weeks and months it is likely pregnant women in the UK will test positive for Coronavirus. While the data is currently limited it is reassuring that there is no evidence that the virus can pass to a baby during pregnancy.”

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health President Professor Russell Viner said the situation was developing very quickly and the guidance was based on a thorough review of the evidence, limited though that is. He added: "Based on current evidence, we don’t believe that babies born to women who test positive for coronavirus should be separated. The impact of this separation, even as a precaution, can be significant on both the baby and the mother. We will review this recommendation as we see more evidence in the weeks and months ahead. There is also limited evidence about the transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk, and based on what we know now, we feel the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks.”

The new guidance, "COVID-19 Virus Infection and Pregnancy, Information for Healthcare Professionals", is available at: https://www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy

Last reviewed 24 March 2020