Advice for pregnant women

Advice for pregnant women

Our clinical head of obstetrics and gynaecology Dr Nicola Yuen details the risk of COVID to pregnant women and the benefits of vaccination.

What’s the risk of COVID during pregnancy?


Pregnant women with COVID have a higher risk of certain complications compared to non-pregnant women with COVID of the same age, including:

  • An increased risk (about 5 times higher) of needing admission to hospital
  • An increased risk (about 2-3 times higher) of needing admission to an intensive care unit
  • An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of needing invasive ventilation (breathing life support)
  • An increased rate of emergency caesarean section (at least 2 times higher)
  • An increased rate of stillbirth and premature delivery


COVID during pregnancy also increases the risk of complications for the newborn, including:

  • An increased risk (about 1.5 times higher) of being born prematurely
  • An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of needing admission to a hospital newborn care unit
  • An increased rate of stillbirth

What’s the advice regarding COVID Vaccination for pregnant women

Pregnant women are a priority group for vaccination.

RANZCOG and ATAGI recommend that pregnant women be routinely offered the Pfizer vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.

Vaccine is recommended because the risk of severe outcomes from COVID is significantly higher for pregnant women and their unborn baby.

There is evidence that the Pfizer COVID vaccination is safe in pregnancy.

The first trials of COVID vaccination excluded pregnant women so there was limited evidence in the initial stages of vaccine roll-out overseas.

Over time real world evidence from other countries has demonstrated that the vaccines are safe in pregnant women.

The antibodies from the vaccination cross the placenta and provide protection for newborn babies.

In the UK around 58% of pregnant women declined the vaccine during the roll-out in very early 2021.

In the last month more than 100 women have been admitted to hospital in the UK with Covid – none were fully vaccinated and 5 were partially vaccinated.

These women have developed serious complications including pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and emergency caesarean sections.

No pregnant woman who has been fully vaccinated has been admitted to hospital with COVID.

More information on the Pfizer vaccine for pregnant women can be found here.


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