UNITED KINGDOM – A third of patients now receiving critical care for Covid are pregnant women

Almost one in three younger women admitted to hospital are currently or recently pregnant.

Statistics from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) covering around 40,000 critically ill patients with Covid-19 reveal major changes between the first wave up to August 2020 and the far fewer patients in the current wave since May 2021. For example, the median age at admission to hospital was dropping and had dropped from 59 to 50.

Among women aged 16-49 admitted to critical care, there has been a remarkable increase in the share who are currently or recently pregnant, from 9% in the first wave to 30% now. Around one in four of all critical care admissions are categorised as of black or Asian ethnicity, but among women who are currently or recently pregnant, this rises to 34%; far higher than the 17% of live births classified as of black or Asian ethnicity. Although ICNARC does not report vaccination status, there is reasonable concern that this excess is linked to lower vaccine coverage.

Only 2% of currently or recently pregnant women died in critical care, compared with 11% of other women aged 16-49. This may suggest a precautionary approach to such admissions at a time of reduced pressure on critical care beds.

In the first wave, about 4 in 10 admissions to critical care died within 28 days. Younger patients, improvements in treatments and less pressure has meant this high mortality rate has now roughly halved. But it is not zero… GET VACCINATED!!

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) have also issued specific information for pregnant women about risks and management of coronavirus (COVID-19). Please see the link for the latest guidance.

Please click here for parent information for newborn babies during coronavirus.
Please click here for information on planning your birth during coronavirus.
Please click here for information on looking after yourself during coronavirus.

SOURCES: The Guardian, by David Spiegelhalter, Anthony Masters, 29 August 2021 ;
RCOG and Royal College of Midwives UK Infographic