Here Is More Good News for Pregnant Women With Covid-19
A new study shows encouraging outcomes for moms
Pregnant women around the world are scared about catching Covid-19 and passing it on to their babies. Obstetricians, like me, work to protect our patients and keep them safe, but much remains unknown about the novel coronavirus’s effects on pregnant women and babies.
A new paper published in the medical journal JAMA offers more encouraging news for pregnant women. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas published a study titled Pregnancy Outcomes Among Women With and Without Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection.
The results show that 95% of women who tested positive for Covid-19 during pregnancy had no adverse outcomes. Five percent of infected women experienced severe complications such as pneumonia and respiratory distress.
This study also showed a low rate of newborn infections (3%) consistent with our previous reporting. Previously published data from the PRIORITY Study (Pregnancy Coronavirus Outcomes Registry) showed babies born to Covid-19-positive women do well with no increase in negative metrics such as low birth weight, difficulty breathing, apnea, or respiratory infections through the first eight weeks of life.
Based on current scientific understanding of Covid-19 infection in pregnancy, there is no evidence at this time indicating pregnant women are more at risk for severe illness from Covid-19 than the general public. In general, viral infections in pregnancy can lead to poor outcomes in mothers and newborns.
Pregnant women have a suppressed immune system and experience changes in the way the respiratory system functions. These physiological changes are essential but put pregnant women at a higher risk for respiratory problems when they contract other similar viruses such as MERS, SARS, influenza, or pneumonia.
This paper from UTSW adds to the growing body of medical evidence that most women who contract Covid-19 will do well. The authors acknowledge the scientific consensus that viral infections place pregnant women at risk but highlight the low number of sufficiently powered, large-scale studies conducted to accurately assess the…