Coronavirus and pregnant women: What is the official government advice?
17 March 2020, 13:15 | Updated: 17 March 2020, 13:17
Do pregnant women need to self isolate during the Coronavirus outbreak? And what has Boris Johnson advised? Find out everything...
As the Coronavirus continues to dominate the headlines, pregnant women are now being advised to be extra careful when it comes to taking the necessary precautions.
Following Boris Johnson’s latest speech on the outbreak, they are being advised to minimise social contact for up to 12 weeks.
But do pregnant women need to self isolate, and what has Boris Johnson said about pregnant women and coronavirus?
Do pregnant women need to self isolate?
Speaking at the government's first press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Chris Whitty said women who are pregnant are now being included in the groups of people at ‘greater risk’.
He told the press it was "absolutely critical" that over 70s, younger adults with chronic diseases, and pregnant women minimise social contact for the time being.
When probed on the potential risk for pregnant women with coronavirus, Professor Whitty later explained that they were only being included as a "precautionary measure.”
He said: "We're very, very early in what we know on this. But... for many infectious diseases, there is a small but appreciable additional risk and we will not know [for sure] until a lot more women have had children."
Adding: "Infections and pregnancy are not a good combination in general and that is why we have taken the very precautionary measure while we try and find out more.”
Dr Ranj also appeared on Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden this morning to try and clarify some of the advice given to pregnant women.
On Tuesday morning, he told Jamie and Amanda: “With anybody who is pregnant at the moment, they have been moved from a lower risk category to a slightly higher risk category because we are learning more and more about this virus.
“Just like we would advise pregnant women to get the flu vaccine or be careful around other types of illness, you are possibly at slightly greater risk of becoming seriously unwell so make sure you take those extra precautions just like we would advise for anyone else.”
He went on to say pregnant women ‘don’t need to change what they do', adding: “Just do the same precautions that we would advise for others.
“We are going to learn more as we go along, the advice is going to change.”
Dr Ranj went on to say that we are going to find out later on this week about specific conditions which will “hopefully give a detailed list of conditions for those who are at higher risk.”
He added: “There will be newer advice coming out in the next week or so about whether people who are at higher risk need to do more extensive self isolation, we’re waiting to find out.”
What is the current government advice on social distancing?
The government announced it was implementing new measures to tackle the disease outbreak, which include:
- People should work from home if they can.
- They should avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants and theatres, particularly in London.
- All non-essential travel should be avoided, including foreign travel for 30 days.
- Anyone with a fever or a new, persistent cough and the rest of their household should stay at home in isolation for 14 days.
- If you live on your own and are displaying coronavirus symptoms, you should self-isolate for 7 days.