PREGNANT women from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds should be given additional support as they face a “heightened risk” due to Covid-19, the NHS England has said.
Recent research from Oxford University showed that 55 per cent of the pregnant women admitted to hospitals due to Covid-19 were from BAME backgrounds, even as they accounted for just a quarter of the births in England and Wales.
Also, a study published in the British Medical Journal in May had warned that pregnant black women were eight times more likely to be hospitalised due to Covid-19 than their white counterparts, while pregnant Asian women faced a four times higher risk.
As part of what the NHS called “common sense steps”, clinicians have been directed to “lower the threshold to review, admit and consider multidisciplinary escalation” while dealing with BAME women.
Medical teams should “reach out, reassure and support” pregnant BAME women with “tailored communications”, NHS England said.
It added that hospitals should discuss importance of nutrition, vitamins and health supplements with all women.
“Women having low 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,” the healthcare body said.
Furthermore, hospitals have been asked to record coronavirus risk factors of all women, such as ethnicity, whether living in a deprived area.
“We know that pregnant women from a BAME background are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19 compared to white women, which is why we’re helping midwives take sensible extra steps to protect mum and baby,” said Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England.
“Understandably, the pandemic has caused pregnant women increased anxiety over the last couple of months, but I want to make sure that every pregnant woman in England knows that the NHS is here for them – if you have any doubt whatsoever that something isn’t right with you or your baby, contact your midwife immediately.”