Evidence and advice for pregnant women evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic. We studied social contact behaviour and vaccine uptake in pregnant women between March 2020 and September 2021 in 19 European countries.
In each country, repeated online survey data were collected from a panel of nationally-representative participants. We calculated the adjusted mean number of contacts reported with an individual-level generalized additive mixed model, modelled using the negative binomial distribution and a log link function. Mean proportion of people in isolation or quarantine, and vaccination coverage by pregnancy status and gender were calculated using a clustered bootstrap.
We recorded 4,129 observations from 1,041 pregnant women, and 115,359 observations from 29,860 non-pregnant individuals aged 18–49. Pregnant women made slightly fewer contacts (3.6, 95%CI = 3.5–3.7) than non-pregnant women (4.0, 95%CI = 3.9–4.0), driven by fewer work contacts but marginally more contacts in non-essential social settings. Approximately 15–20% pregnant and 5% of non-pregnant individuals reported to be in isolation and quarantine for large parts of the study period.
COVID-19 vaccine coverage was higher in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women between January and April 2021. Since May 2021, vaccination in non-pregnant women began to increase and surpassed that in pregnant women.
Limited social contact to avoid pathogen exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge to many, especially women going through pregnancy. More recognition of maternal social support desire is needed in the ongoing pandemic. As COVID-19 vaccination continues to remain an important pillar of outbreak response, strategies to promote correct information can provide reassurance and facilitate informed pregnancy vaccine decisions in this vulnerable group.