Study: Pregnant women could face higher virus risks

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Pregnant women might be at increased risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, according to a study released Wednesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While just 5% of women in child-bearing years are pregnant at any given time, the study showed that more than 26% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 who were hospitalized with COVID-19 between March 1 and Aug. 22 were pregnant.

While COVID-19 might be more severe in pregnant women, other factors could contribute to the increased hospitalization rates, including doctors being more likely to admit pregnant women and that some women were admitted solely to deliver babies. Moreover, the study said pregnant women “might also have a higher likelihood of being tested for COVID-19 upon admission than do nonpregnant women.”

The analysis included reviews of hospitalized pregnant women with COVID-19 in 13 states but not Florida. More than 54% of the pregnant women were asymptomatic at admission. Just more than 2% of all pregnancies completed during COVID-19-related hospitalizations resulted in pregnancy losses. Asymptomatic and symptomatic women had pregnancy losses. But the analysis showed that 16.2% of symptomatic pregnant women were admitted to intensive care units, and 8.5% required “invasive mechanical ventilation.” Two symptomatic pregnant women died. Conversely, no asymptomatic COVID-19 pregnant patients required intensive-care unit admission or ventilation, and none of them died.

“Surveillance of pregnant women with COVID-19, including those with asymptomatic infections, is important to understand the short- and long-term consequences of COVID-19 for mothers and newborns,” the report said.