A Letter to MPs urging them to protect the safety of pregnant women from Covid19

April 2021


Dear MP,


Today is the anniversary of the tragic death of Mary Agyapong, the 28 year old pregnant nurse who tragically lost her life to Covid19 and was never able to hold her baby daughter. The news of Mary’s death had a profound effect on us all. Since then many pregnant women and unborn babies have lost their life to Covid19. 

Pregnant women are considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ to serious illness if infected with Covid-19. While there is still a lack of robust research into Covid-19 during pregnancy here in the UK, emerging evidence suggests that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to ICU, up to three times more likely to give birth prematurely, and have worse maternal outcomes than pregnant women without Covid-19, including abnormalities in the placenta causing fetal compromise. 


Despite this evidence pointing to worse outcomes for pregnant women, Pregnant Then Screwed research has shown that employers are not keeping their pregnant employees safe. 

According to research carried out in February 2021, 56% of pregnant women do not feel safe at work and only a quarter have had a risk assessment conducted, despite this being a legal requirement. 

It is clear that current protections, including those that exist under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) are inadequate and unenforced. An employer is required by law to assess the health and safety risks to all employees with specific consideration to female employees of childbearing age, pregnant women and new mothers. 

In the absence of comprehensive research and in light of such alarming indicators, It is critical that the government ensures that adequate protections for pregnant workers are in place and enforced. 

As your constituent, I am writing to you today to ask that you call on the Government to: 

  • Ensure that employers are held to account for effectively implementing protections.
  • Expand the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance so pregnant workers can be furloughed, and to cover 100% of their salary. This should be independent of gestation and should be open to all types of workers.   
  • Update and strengthen the Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance to include HMG’s December guidance for pregnant workers. Guidance for pregnant workers was released quietly and separately at the end of December, more than nine months after pregnant women were declared ‘clinically vulnerable’ and it may have been missed by employers. 
  • Ensure that all employers are aware of their responsibilities and the available actions they can and should take to support pregnant workers. At a minimum, this should be integrated and prioritised within updated guidance following the Budget Announcements and/or an awareness campaign targeting employers. It is vital that employers deliver on risk-assessment requirements and make appropriate use of the protections available to support pregnant workers during the pandemic. 
  • Carefully consider the requirements of pregnant women should it become mandatory for staff in care homes and other sectors to have the vaccine. 


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