Six cases of stillbirth and one case of second trimester miscarriage have been caused by Covid-19 since January, according to the RCPI Faculty of Pathology and the Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.

A statement released this afternoon said: "There have been six cases of stillbirth and one case of second trimester miscarriage caused by SARS-CoV2 placentitis since January 2021 in Ireland.

"The six cases are on a background of a total of 11 cases of SARS-CoV2 placentitis identified in Ireland since the start of the pandemic.

"Results to date, from the babies' deaths, indicate a link with the B117 variant of concern which may explain why this finding was not a significant feature of the 1st and 2nd waves in 2020.

"It may also partially explain why it is not a clear feature of Covid-19 infection in the international literature to date, which largely dates from Covid-19 cases seen in 2020.".

They said the condition "appears to occur a relatively short time after contracting Covid-19 infection, ranging up to 21 days from experiencing symptoms".

They added that maternal Covid-19 symptoms "varied from none to moderate".

Yesterday, the director of the Health Service Executive's National Women and Infants Programme said it is "more important" that pregnant women protect themselves from Covid-19 than the rest of the population, but he said he does not think all pregnant women should be automatically vaccinated.

Professor Peter McKenna was speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne in relation to the six stillbirths in Ireland.

He said the advice to minimise contacts "applies to pregnant women even more than it does to the rest of the population".

Prof McKenna said it is important that if pregnant women "come into contact with Covid" that they inform the hospital looking after their pregnancy so they can be closely monitored.

Chapter 5A of the HSE Immunisation Guidelines includes a section on Covid-19 vaccines and pregnant women. The guidelines can be viewed here.