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Pregnant Women with COVID-19 are at Increased Risk of ICU Admission

JUN 30, 2020 | JOHN PARKINSON
Women who are pregnant and contracted COVID-19 are associated with greater hospitalization and increased risk for admission to the intensive care unit and mechanical ventilation.  

The study, highlighted in a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found 31.5% of pregnant women with COVID-19 were reported to have been hospitalized compared to just 5.8% of nonpregnant women.

Pregnant women were more likely to be admitted to the ICU (aRR = 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2–1.8) and receive mechanical ventilation (aRR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.2–2.4).

The study period ran from January 22–June 7, with 326,335 women ages 15-44 testing positive. Of the COVID-19 positive group, 8,207 were pregnant.

And Hispanic and black women who are pregnant appear to be at a greater risk to contract COIVD-19, according to the report.

In the COVID-19 pregnant grouping, Hispanics made up 46.2% of the overall group, whites were 23.0%, blacks made up 22.1%, and Asians made up 3.8%.

“These findings suggest that pregnant women who are Hispanic and black might be disproportionately affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy,” the MMWR reported.

In terms of mortality, both groups displayed similar results. In the pregnancy group, there were 16 (0.2%) COVID-19–related deaths, and among nonpregnant women, 208 (0.2%) such deaths.

In terms of limitations, the investigators listed the missing pregnancy status for three quarters of women of reproductive age with the virus; the need for additional time to see the prevalence of outcomes; data on patients’ pregnancy trimester at the time of infection or whether the hospitalization was related to pregnancy conditions rather than for COVID-19; and routine case surveillance does not capture pregnancy or birth outcomes. The investigators stated that it remained unclear whether COVID-19 during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.

In looking to address the aforementioned data gaps, CDC has initiated COVID-19 pregnancy-related surveillance to report pregnancy-related information and outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19. CDC will be collaborating with local health departments.

“To reduce severe COVID-19-associated illness, pregnant women should be aware of their potential risk for severe COVID-19 illness,” the MMWR stated.
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