Healthcare staff who are less than 28 weeks pregnant should practise social distancing but can continue working in a patient-facing role during the coronavirus outbreak, guidance from umbrella groups has stated.
However, women who are more than 28 weeks pregnant or have underlying health conditions – such as heart or lung disease – should avoid direct patient contact.
The guidance is from the Roya College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, with input from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association.
It stated: ‘Pregnant women under 28 weeks’ gestation with no underlying health conditions, should follow the guidance on social distancing in the same way as the general population.
‘For pregnant women after 28 weeks’ gestation, or with underlying health conditions such as heart or lung disease, a more precautionary approach is advised,’ it continued.
‘Women in this category should work from home where possible, avoid contact with anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, and significantly reduce unnecessary social contact.’
Many pregnant healthcare workers may be able to undertake phone or video consultations or take on administrative duties in order to continue to make a ‘valuable contribution’ to the workplace, it added.
Anyone caring for a patient with a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 infection should carry out a risk assessment and use personal protective equipment, it also said.
Chief executive of the RCM Gill Walton acknowledged concern from pregnant healthcare workers at the ‘lack of official guidance’ around coronavirus.
‘We therefore welcome the publication of this guidance for all pregnant healthcare workers and the clarity it brings for them and for employers,’ she added.