Covid-19 Moms Are at Higher Risk for ICU Admission and Complications
An OB-GYN reviews the latest coronavirus research in pregnancy
No pregnant woman wants to give birth during a pandemic. Obstetricians worldwide work to protect our patients and keep them safe. Scientists continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus’s effects on pregnant women and babies, but much remains unknown.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides updated guidance for public health information and recommendations through the weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). On November 2, the CDC released a report on pregnant women’s maternal outcomes who contract Covid-19.
The report, titled Characteristics of Symptomatic Women of Reproductive Age with Laboratory-Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Pregnancy Status, evaluated symptomatic women aged 15–44 with laboratory-confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2.
This paper verifies the growing scientific consensus that women are at a higher risk of severe complications if they acquire Covid-19 during pregnancy compared with nonpregnant women. The analysis of approximately 400,000 women with symptomatic Covid-19 infections had a low overall risk of serious complications. Still, pregnancy increased the risk of intensive care unit admission, invasive ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and death.
Based on current data, there is no evidence at this time indicating pregnant women are more at risk for severe illness from Covid-19 than the general public. We know that viral infections in pregnancy and postpartum can lead to poor outcomes in mothers and newborns.
Pregnant women have a suppressed immune system and physiologic changes in their lung function. These changes put pregnant women at a higher risk for respiratory problems when they contract other similar viruses, such as MERS, SARS, influenza, or pneumonia.
On the plus side, data so far indicates that a Covid-19-positive pregnant woman has a low risk of passing the virus to her baby. The PRIORITY study (Pregnancy Coronavirus Outcomes Registry) showed babies born to Covid-19 positive women do well with no increase in important metrics such as low birth weight…