The NHS is rolling out additional support for pregnant Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) women, as new research shows heightened risks facing women from minority groups. Urgent action is being taken by the NHS in England to protect expectant mums, including increasing uptake of important Vitamin D and undertaking outreach in neighbourhoods and communities in their area.
England’s most senior midwife, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, has written to all maternity units in the country calling on them to take four specific actions which will minimise the additional risk of COVID-19 for BAME women and their babies. The common sense steps include:
- Increasing support of at-risk pregnant women – e.g. making sure clinicians have a lower threshold to review, admit and consider multidisciplinary escalation in women from a BAME background.
- Reaching out and reassuring pregnant BAME women with tailored communications.
- Ensuring hospitals discuss vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy with all women. Women low in 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.
- Ensuring all providers record on maternity information systems the ethnicity of every woman, as well as other risk factors, such as living in a deprived area (postcode), co-morbidities, BMI and aged 35 years or over, to identify those most at risk of poor outcomes.