A new study showing pregnant women are more at risk from Covid-19 is a reminder of the need for expert health care, a New Zealand women's health expert says.

The study published today in the British Medical Journal showed pregnant women were at a higher risk from the effects of Covid-19 and were more likely to give birth early.

They were less likely to have symptoms, but more likely to need intensive care.

More than 11,000 women were part of the study from an international team of researchers.

The research project based at the University of Birmingham said maternal risk factors associated with severe Covid-19 increased with age, high body mass index, chronic high blood pressure, and pre-existing diabetes.

Professor Bev Lawton said that was no real surprise, but served as a reminder of the need for women to access regular care, particularly at a time when there was greater reluctance to head out of the house.

"Women should be interacting as early in their pregnancy as possible with their midwife or their GP.

"People have been perhaps a bit more wary about engaging and coming out of the home but we really do need for women to see their GP or midwife."

The New Zealand College of Midwives said the research was helpful at this time.

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NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus: Pregnant women at higher risk, UK study finds