CDC: Pregnant women might be at higher risk for more severe COVID-19 symptoms

The study doesn't come without faults, though there is enough info to suggest symptoms can be worse for pregnant women.

More than four months into the coronavirus outbreak in Minnesota, a new study suggests that pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, in addition to possibly being at an increased risk of requiring critical care. 

The study by by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that, despite reporting inefficiencies, there is evidence to support the suggestion that "pregnant women with COVID-19 were five times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and four times more likely to receive mechanical ventilation than non-pregnant women."

"The risk for death was the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women," the study also found. 

Results of the study also reveal that Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black pregnant women "appear to be disproportionately affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy." Again, those infected pregnant women were at increased risk for ICU admission, but not death. 

Through July 2, the CDC has tracked 10,537 cases involving pregnant women with COVID-19 in the United States. Thirty of those patients died and 3,077 were hospitalized.

The study doesn't come without faults, as the CDC admits it has at least four limiting factors, including: 

  • Pregnancy status for reproductive-age COVID-19 patients wasn't recorded in 75 percent of women. 
  • Data on race/ethnicity, symptoms, underlying conditions, and outcomes were missing for a large proportion of cases.
  • How far along pregnant patients wasn't tracked, nor was it clear if those hospitalized patients were admitted to due pregnancy complications or COVID-19 issues. 
  • It's unclear if COVID-19 infection is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as early delivery or loss of an unborn child. 

In spite of these limitations, the CDC is sufficiently concerned to advise those pregnant to limit their possible exposures to COVID-19.

"Pregnant women might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. To reduce severe COVID-19–associated illness, pregnant women should be aware of their potential risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Prevention of COVID-19 should be emphasized for pregnant women and potential barriers to adherence to these measures need to be addressed," the study said. 

The CDC recommends pregnant women take the following steps during the pandemic: 

  • Don't skip prenatal care appointments. 
  • Limit interactions with other people as much as possible. 
  • When interacting, social distance, wear a mask and hand-wash frequently. 
  • Have at least a 30-day supply of medicines at home. 

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