Assessing the impact of COVID-19 infection on pregnant women and their babies

Researchers at the Tommy’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health in Edinburgh are collaborating with scientists from across Scotland to assess the effects of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy on the health of women and their babies.
  • Author's list

    Dr Sarah Stock, Dr David McAllister, Dr Eleftheria Vasileiou, Professor Colin R Simpson, Dr Helen R Stagg, Dr Utkarsh Agrawal, Professor Colin McCowan, Leanne Hopkins, Jack Donaghy, Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie, Professor Chris Robertson, Professor Aziz Sheikh, Dr Rachael Wood

    Start date: July 2020
    End date: May 2021

  • Research centre

  • Research status

    Ongoing projects

Why do we need this research?

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the UK in March 2020, pregnant women were classed as an ‘at risk’ group and advised to shield. However, the true effects of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy are unclear, and there is some evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at no greater risk of becoming seriously unwell than other healthy adults. 
We need to find out more about the effects of COVID-19 infection on the health of mothers and their babies, so that pregnant women can be provided with the best possible care and advice.

What’s happening in this project?

Tommy’s researchers are collaborating with scientists from around Scotland to carry out a study that will find out more about the effects of COVID-19 infection on the health of pregnant women and their babies. The study will include all women in Scotland who were pregnant on 1st March 2020, or who became pregnant after this date, and all births in Scotland from the 1st March 2020 onwards. 

By looking at the health records of these pregnant women and their babies, the researchers will be able to work out the incidence of COVID-19 infection, and will also explore whether there are any associations between COVID-19 infection and poor outcomes for either mother or baby during or after pregnancy. The team will also find out how many babies contracted COVID-19 from their mothers.

What difference will this project make?

It is important that we have a thorough understanding of the impact of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy so that women and their babies can be cared for appropriately. The results of this study will also be helpful as researchers begin to explore the effectiveness and safety of drug treatments or vaccination for COVID-19 among pregnant women.