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

June 30, 2020
John Parkinson

John Parkinson is the senior editor for ContagionLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2020, he has covered a variety of fields and markets including diabetes, oncology, ophthalmology, IT, travel, and local news. You can email him at [email protected]

In a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data showed greater intensive care unit admission and mechanical ventilation for this group of patients.

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.