This study aimed to determine SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among pregnant women in the Scottish population during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study design

Prospective national serosurvey.


We tested 13,428 residual samples retrieved from pregnant women participating in the first trimester combined ultrasound and biochemical screening for fetal trisomy across Scotland for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies over a 6-month period from November 2020 to April 2021. Seroprevalence estimates were adjusted for the sensitivity and specificity of the assays and weighted to reference populations.


Seroprevalence rates in the antenatal samples significantly increased from 5.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.7%–6.5%) in the 5-week period up to and including International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Week 51 (w/b Monday 14 December 2020) to 11.3% (95% CI 10.1%–12.6%) in the 5-week period up to and including ISO Week 14 (w/b Monday 5 April 2021). Increasing seroprevalence trends across the second wave were observed among all age groups.


By the end of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately one in 10 women tested around the end of the first trimester of pregnancy had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that the vast majority were still susceptible to COVID-19 as they progressed to the later stages of pregnancy, when risks from infection are elevated for both mother and baby.


© 2021 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cite as

McAuley, A., Gousias, P., Hasan, T., Rashid, L., Richardson, C., Reid, G., Templeton, K., McGuire, J., Wise, H., McVicar, L., Jenks, S., Gunn, R., Dickson, E., Stock, S., Stockton, A., Waugh, C., Wood, R., McMenamin, J., Robertson, C., Goldberg, D. & Palmateer, N. 2021, 'National population prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 among pregnant women in Scotland during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic : a prospective national serosurvey', Public Health, 199, pp. 17-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2021.08.005

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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