COVID-19 and Pregnancy


With a rise in COVID-19 cases across the UK, national data suggests the numbers of pregnant women being admitted per week are now more than three times greater than they were at the end of May. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has stated that pregnant women are more likely to become severally unwell should they catch COVID-19 especially towards the end of pregnancy around their third trimester. They are also more likely to suffer preterm birth and stillbirth. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated pregnant women should take steps to avoid COVID-19 infection by continuing to practice social distancing, particularly in their third trimester.


It is essential that women continue to access high quality and timely antenatal and postnatal care and continue to receive care during labour and birth that meets their physical as well as psychological needs. Antenatal and postnatal care is based on years of evidence to keep women and babies safe in pregnancy and birth and should therefore be considered as essential care. Women will be encouraged to attend their appointments, despite being advised to otherwise adopt social distancing measures.

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The NHS has published an animation which sets out what pregnant women should expect from NHS maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic and how we keep your care personal and safe. Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer, and Dr Matthew Jolly, National Clinical Director for Maternity explain what might change and why it’s important to keep in touch with your maternity team. Watch the video on the right. 

You will still have routine antenatal appointments and scans while you're pregnant. But there may be some changes.

You may find that:

  • some midwife appointments are online, by phone or by video call
  • you may be asked to wear protective equipment, such as a mask or gown when you're in a hospital or clinic
  • some appointments may be cancelled or rescheduled – if an appointment is cancelled for any reason, it will be rescheduled, or you'll be able to rebook it

These additional measures are in place as we want to keep everyone safe and to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

If you're unsure if you can bring your partner to your appointment, ask your midwife or maternity team.


If you are well, it's really important that you go to all of your appointments and scans for the health of you and your baby.

Your safety is our priority, so we are ensuring our hospitals and clinics are safe for appointments.


For the most up to date information and requirements for all three hospital areas within the Hertfordshire and West Essex Local Maternity and Neonatal System, please visit the hospital's individual website.

• Lister -

• Watford General -

• The Princess Alexandra -

Women who have been identified as being at higher risk of developing a severe illness include:

  • Pregnant individuals with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired) are classified as clinically extremely vulnerable and should therefore follow current Government Guidance found here
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds
  • Those over the age of 35
  • Those with BMI of 30 or more
  • Those pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes

Your care will be individual to you, discussions will take place with your community midwife or maternity team and risk assessments will take place to propose the best antenatal and postnatal care plan for you.

If you develop coronavirus you are still most likely to have no symptoms or a mild illness from which you will make a full recovery.


If you are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds you are at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell and being admitted to hospital so it’s important that if you feel your symptoms are worsening or if you are not getting better, you should seek medical help.

The NHS in England has written to all maternity departments in the country calling on them to take  action to minimise the additional risk of coronavirus on BAME women and their babies. Including:

  • Increasing support for at-risk pregnant women, such as reviewing at risk women more regularly, offering more appointments and ensuring more regular communication.
  • Ensuring hospitals discuss vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy with all women. Women low in vitamin D may be more vulnerable to coronavirus so women with darker skin or those who always cover their skin when outside may be at particular risk of vitamin D insufficiency and should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D all year. Vitamin D supplements are available from most pharmacies and supermarkets, and for eligible families through the NHS Healthy Start scheme

If you are concerned for your wellbeing or your baby’s wellbeing please get in touch with your 24 hour maternity services:

East and North Hertfordshire:  01438 284124

The Princess Alexandra:  01279 827286

West Hertfordshire:  01923 217343


A Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) is a NHS working group: a team of women and their families, commissioners and providers (midwives and doctors) working together to review and contribute to the development of local maternity care. The Hertfordshire and West Essex MVP groups are, Lister MVP, West Essex MVP and West Herts MVP.


For regular updates and maternity/pregnancy-related information from the maternity and neonatal teams at Watford General Hospital in Watford, Lister Hospital in Stevenage and The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow for parents-to-be and professionals see information below.

Hertfordshire & west Essex Maternity System Facebook group

Lister MVP Facebook group 

West Essex MVP Facebook group

West Herts MVP Facebook group


Pregnant women should continue to follow the latest government guidance on HANDS- FACE- SPACE (social distancing) and avoid anyone who is isolating due to coronavirus. During your third trimester (more than 28 weeks’ pregnant) you should be particularly attentive to social distancing.

Key ways to care for yourself and baby include:

  • Keeping mobile and hydrated
  • Staying active with regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet and take a daily folic acid and vitamin D supplement
  • It is important to still attend for all your routine appointments unless you are advised not to
  • Get in contact with your maternity team if you have concerns about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of your baby.

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Caring for your baby:

Face masks should NOT be used for babies and children under 3 years of age

Wearing a face mask in this age group can put babies and children at serious risk of harm or death:

1.     Babies and young children have smaller airways so breathing through a mask is harder for them

2.     Masks could increase the risk of suffocation because they are harder to breathe through

3.     Babies are unable to remove the mask should they have trouble breathing

4.     Infants could be at risk of becoming tangled, especially if they try to remove a mask, potentially causing serious injury

5.     Older infants or young toddlers are not likely to keep the mask on and will touch their face more to try and remove it


Coronavirus symptoms in children:

Coronavirus: parent information for newborn babies:

Information on Safer Sleeping is available fromThe Lullaby Trust here:


The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is there to help people in England to stay safe during coronavirus (COVID-19). Set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement and working with Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app.

Sign up today to become a volunteer | NHS and Care Volunteer Responders ( 

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