Sending older children back to school after lockdown when you are pregnant

As schools start reopening again, some pregnant women with older children are concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19. Here, we explain the current guidance.

What is the advice for pregnant women with older children attending school/nursery/external childcare?

The UK government advises that if you are pregnant and have children, they can go back when schools reopen. It is understandable if this makes parents anxious, particularly if you are currently pregnant.

It's important to remember that pregnant women are at no greater risk of contracting coronavirus than other healthy adults.There are additional concerns for women who are in the third trimester. This is based on the challenges in caring for women who are heavily pregnant, and the risk of the baby needing to be born early for the woman’s wellbeing. But the advice remains to pay particular attention to social distancing including hands, face, space.

A study has also shown that some pregnant women are more like to be hospitalised with coronavirus, including those who:

  • are from minority ethnic groups
  • are older
  • are overweight or obese
  • have other health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Social distancing is even more important for these women. Find out more about coronavirus and pregnancy.

If you are picking your children up or dropping them off, you are advised to practice social distancing.

Try to stay 2 meters away from teachers, carers and other parents and do not go inside the building. If this is difficult, you could try staggering your child’s drop off and pick up times.

Remember to wash your hands when you return home and make sure that your children wash their hands when they leave the childcare setting. You can use alcohol gel can be used if they cannot wash their hands with soap and water.

Whose decision is it whether my children go back to school?

Attendance will be mandatory again in England from March 8th, unless pupils or a close contact develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.

Find the latest guidance for parents and carers about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus outbreak in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

What is the advice for pregnant women who are classed as extremely vulnerable or who are shielding on older children attending school/nursery/external childcare?

Some pregnant women with pre-existing severe medical illnesses have been classed as extremely vulnerable may be asked to shield. You will have been told this by your maternity team.

There is separate advice for shielding in England, ScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland. Practical advice for measures that may be helpful to adopt within a family are now available within this guidance.

If schools and childcare settings remain open, the UK government advice is that children and young people who live in a household where another member is shielding should attend school/nursery/external childcare if careful social distancing and hand hygiene can be practiced.

We're here to support you

Although we've had to temporarily close our support line as our midwives have moved to homeworking, our Tommy's midwives are still here to support you.

We are working hard to provide the best support and information we can during a time of extra anxiety and worry for pregnant women and their families.

Watch out for updates and contact us on the following platforms:


Have you got a smart speaker?

If you have non-urgent questions, we have developed Tommy's Midwife, a skill for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa that answers many pregnancy queries, including some about COVID-19.