Improving care of pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic

Health professionals around the globe can join a series of online expert workshops aimed at improving the care of pregnant women during the current COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in low- and middle-countries.

Experts at the University of Birmingham are joining the international women’s health charity Elly to launch the first in the free webinar series on Saturday 20 June at 13:30 BST – healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in the subject can register via Eventbrite.

The launch webinar Antenatal Care during the COVID-19 pandemic will provide insight into antenatal care and COVID-19 management in pregnancy underpinned by the latest evidence, followed by further workshops on:

  • Intrapartum Care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Postnatal and neonatal Care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Women’s Health Research during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hosted by Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, co-Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Global Women's Health at the University of Birmingham, the first webinar will feature contributions from:

  • Dr Heinke Kunst, honorary consultant in respiratory medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust / senior lecturer in respiratory medicine at Queen Mary University of London
  • Mr Rehan Khan, obstetrics and gynaecology consultant at The Royal London Hospital
  • Mr Joseph Aquilina, fetal medicine Consultant at The Royal London Hospital

Professor Thangaratinam commented: “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has both direct and indirect impact on outcomes to mother and her baby. This is particularly worrying in the context of worsening maternal healthcare access and availability in low- and middle-income countries.

"There is rapidly emerging evidence on managing COVID-19 in pregnancy and afterwards effectively. It’s vital to share lessons learned in order to minimise the risk of transmission and adverse outcomes for mothers, babies and the healthcare professionals that provide care.

"We’re particularly keen to reach healthcare professionals in low- and middle income countries and explore how to remodel services and manage women with COVID-19 at the different stages of pregnancy and childbirth.”

Professor Thangaratinam leads the PregCOV-19 project, an online resource bringing together research on the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on expectant mothers and their babies which will help to inform guidelines and treatment pathways.

The project, led by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women’s Health at the University of Birmingham, aims to evaluate the rapidly emerging evidence on maternal and offspring outcomes and risks in women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Ramesan Navaratnarajah, from Elly Charity, commented: “We train and educate healthcare workers world-wide in providing the best possible care during pregnancy and childbirth. We’re delighted to support this important training series which will help to promote best practice during a very challenging global health crisis.”