Guidance for the provision of antenatal services during the COVID-19 pandemic

02 May 2020
6 min read
Volume 28 · Issue 5


Novel coronavirus, known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2), is a new strain of coronavirus causing the COVID-19 infection. The incubation period is estimated at 0–14 days (mean 5–6 days). The majority of people with COVID-19 infection have mild symptoms. Typical symptoms include a fever and cough which may progress to a severe pneumonia causing breathing difficulties. Severe symptoms are more likely in people with weakened immune systems, older people and people with long-term conditions. Pregnant women do not appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of an infection with COVID-19 than the general population. Special consideration should be given to pregnant women with concomitant medical illnesses. There is currently no evidence concerning transmission through genital fluids or breastmilk.

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus, a new strain of coronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-COV-2) causing COVID-19, had caused a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. The earliest documented transmission of COVID-19 within the UK appeared on 28 February 2020; all of the cases detected previously had been infected abroad (BBC News, 2020a). By 1 March 2020, cases had been detected in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This led to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce that ‘non-essential’ travel and contact with others, as well as suggesting people should avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, and work from home if possible. Pregnant women, people over the age of 70 and those with certain health conditions were urged to consider the advice ‘particularly important’, as they were considered ‘vulnerable’ and were asked to self-isolate (BBC News, 2020b)

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