New studies into the subject reveal that pregnant women are likely to suffer from more severe form of coronavirus infection and an increased risk of pregnancy loss.
The studies published by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that pregnant women who are infected with the coronavirus and hospitalized are at risk for developing serious complications. One of these complications is the risk of stillbirth and premature birth.
New: Pregnant women infected with #COVID19 are more likely to be 📌hospitalized, 📌admitted to ICU and put on a 📌ventilator than infected women who are not pregnant, according to a new analysis. New info given earlier CDC stance women not higher risk. 🧵https://t.co/OCD5LQpeYu
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 16, 2020
These findings are in line with previous ones which found that pregnant women are more likely to suffer from severe coronavirus illness but were dismissed due to a small sample size.
Pregnant women with #COVID 60% & 90% higher chance of needing oxygen & mech ventilation, 3X more likely to have preterm birth. Few studies from #LMIC where #UHC & O2 available. Obesity, diabetes, chronic hypertension all risk factors for severe outcome 1/ https://t.co/iEioAtHHiL
— Fiona Russell (@Fiona_M_Russell) September 10, 2020
In June, Alexander emailed the director of the @CDCgov and accused the agency of “undermining the president” by putting out a report about the risks of the coronavirus to pregnant women. https://t.co/0Qf7oxAHCB (2/6)
— Sebastian Bron (@sebibron) September 10, 2020
The two new CDC studies show that many women hospitalized pregnant women sick with coronavirus were asymptomatic. And among women who did have symptoms required intensive care (16 to 30 percent) and ventilators (6 to 8.5 percent) to help breathe. Of more than 700 women in the study, three actually died due to COVID-19.
Pregnant women infected with the coronavirus experienced a higher rate of preterm deliveries than expected and had some stillbirths, according to data from both studies. This is also what a previous British study showed, when there was a population wise increase in stillbirths due to coronavirus.
Scientists believe that because the immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, a woman may be more susceptible to an infection. The immune system during pregnancy is suppressed to shield the fetus from any bad reactions.
Other factors that might contribute may be that lungs are affected by the expanding uterus, the heart is working harder, and the fact that coronavirus can increase risk of clots that might have a negative effect on the placenta. Placenta is vital to provide nourishment to a fetus during pregnancy.
As these findings come to light, the scientific community is urging pregnant women to be extra vigilant and to wear masks in public along with practicing social distancing, to minimize the risk of an infection in the first place. Experts have actually urged for implementing a universal screening policy for all pregnant women, due to increased risk.
#WearAMask to help slow the spread of #COVID19. When removing your mask, handle only the ear loops or ties, and fold the outside corners together. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, and wash your hands after removing.
— CDC (@CDCgov) September 16, 2020
Dr. Neel Shah, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard University, agrees with this recommendation and is calling employers to take extra precautions to help their pregnant employees at this crucial time.
“If there is one call for action, it is that employers need to take care of their pregnant people, especially if they’re getting close to term, and do everything possible to avoid them being exposed — allowing them to work virtually or giving the time and space they need,” said Shah.
These two reports come from completely two different CDC surveillance systems.
The first study included 598 women infected with coronavirus in 13 different states, between March and August. With an average age of 30, one in 5 of these women had a serious health issue like hypertension or asthma. Among these women, 42 percent were Hispanic, and 26 percent were African American.
Take steps to slow the spread and protect yourself:
•Wear a mask consistently and correctly
•Avoid large gatherings
•Wash hands often
•Stay 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you
•Continue to seek prenatal care
— CDC (@CDCgov) September 16, 2020
Half of these women were not showing any symptoms when they were admitted to the hospital. Of all the women, 16 percent required intensive care and 8.5 percent required ventilators to help with breathing. Two women died.
The study showed that women with or without symptoms, had premature births and pregnancy losses. However, preterm births affected about 25 percent of symptomatic women, compared with only 8 percent of the asymptomatic women. Ten women had miscarriages or stillbirths.
For comparison, the one in 160 pregnancies result in a still birth and rate of premature births has been 10 percent in recent years, in United States.
— Foreign Confidential (@ForeignC) September 17, 2020
In the other study, 105 pregnant women infected with the coronavirus between March and May were looked at. Also, with an average age of 30, most of them were without symptoms and more than half were Hispanic.
Among those who were hospitalized because of COVID-19, rates of obesity and gestational diabetes were higher than among those who were hospitalized for other reasons. About 30 percent of those hospitalized because of COVID required intensive care and 14 percent required a ventilator. Only one death was observed.
Of the women who delivered their babies, 15 percent had premature births and 3 percent had stillbirths. The rates were higher than what is typically observed among pregnant women in these populations.