Experts are calling for “urgent investigation” after figures show more than half of pregnant women admitted to a UK hospital with COVID-19 were either from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background.

Despite the high numbers though, most of the women had good outcomes and the transmission rate from mother to baby were also very low, Oxford researchers have said.

The study was based upon 427 women who were admitted to hospital between March 1 and April 14, 2020. Most of them in their late second or third trimester of their pregnancy and become infected with coronavirus.

The research findings found that 56 per cent were from black or other ethnic minority groups, and among that group there were 25 per cent were Asian and 22 per cent were black.

In addition, the research team, from the University of Oxford also looked at other components which might impact their health outcome and noted that 70 per cent were overweight or obese, 40 per cent were aged 35 or over, and a third of the females also had another health condition.

By the end the study period, the data showed that five of the women had passed away, three of which had died as a direct result of COVID-19. Out of the 265 babies who were born, 12 of them tested positive for COVID-19.

The researchers concluded: “Most pregnant women admitted to hospital with SARS-CoV-2 infection were in the late second or third trimester, supporting guidance for continued social distancing measures in later pregnancy.

“Most had good outcomes, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to infants was uncommon. The high proportion of women from black or minority ethnic groups admitted with infection needs urgent investigation and explanation.”

These study findings further supports other research that has shown that black people are between two and three times more likely to be diagnosed with coronavirus than white people.

COVID-19 death rates have also been highest among black and Asian ethnic groups.

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