For more than a year, doctors and researchers have noted how pregnancy increases the risk of complications from COVID-19. A study published this month proved just how serious the illness can be for future babies and pregnant women.
The study, published in JAMA Network Open, looked at 869 ,079 women who gave birth at nearly 500 US medical centers between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
Researchers found that patients with COVID-19 had more than five times the likelihood of being admitted to the ICU, more likely to require intubation or mechanical ventilation, as well as more than fifteen times the chance of dying.
COVID-19-positive women were 40% more likely than others to have an early delivery.
Study co-author Dr. Jennifer Jolley, an associate professor in UCI Medical Center’s OB/GYN department, told the LA Times the stats align with what clinicians are seeing on the ground.
She stated that she wanted her pregnant patients to get the vaccine “as soon as possible moving forward, for both their health and the health of their families.”
This research, which is the largest ever to use a single database to gather data on childbirth with CoVID-19, confirms previous findings that pregnant women are vulnerable to illness, especially for minorities and people with immunocompromised.
The current study found that the disease and its adverse outcomes affected Black and Hispanic women more than those who are obese, anemia and have pulmonary artery disease.
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A January paper reported that 0.14% of pregnant COVID-19 patients died, compared to 0.005% of pregnant women without the disease. A September 2020 global meta-analysis also found higher rates of ICU admission and ventilation among COVID-19 positive pregnant people compared to non-pregnant COVID-19 patients.
A November 2020 CDC analysis of data from approximately 400,000 teens and women with symptomatic COVID-19 revealed that pregnant women were almost four times more likely to require ventilation and twice as likely die than women who are not pregnant with COVID-19.
There is a possibility that COVID-19 pregnant patients are treated more carefully by clinicians. This could lead to higher ICU admission rates and even preterm births.