A pregnant woman wears a surgical mask is washing hands by alcohol gel on the sofa. Protect a … [+]
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of pregnancy. As clinics and maternity wards start to open their doors again to partners and physicians start seeing their patients face to face, the crisis continues. Gathering data and research on how the pandemic has affected people going through fertility treatment or pregnancy has been difficult. However, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that pregnant people infected by Covid-19 are more likely to suffer complications. The organization detailed that pregnant people are more likely to be hospitalized, need ICU care and more likely to receive mechanical ventilation.
On June 26 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released research on how Covid-19 is affected pregnant people in the U.S. Prior to the report there was very little known on how the pandemic has affected this demographic. The results highlighted that pregnant people were more likely to suffer from complications after being diagnosed with Covid-19. The study found that pregnant women were 5.4 times more likely to be hospitalized, 1.5 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and 1.7 times more likely to receive mechanical ventilation after being diagnosed with Covid-19. However, while there were more risks of becoming seriously ill, there were no associations with increased rates of mortality.
When looking at why pregnant people may be disproportionately affected by Covid-19 Dr. Jane van Dis, medical director at Maven, a leading women’s and family health company, says “[it’s] likely multifactorial but may be due, in part, to changes in the physiology and anatomy of the maternal adaptation to pregnancy including hormonal effects on the vasculature, changes in immune function, decreased residual capacity of the lungs and increased resting ventilation, increased blood volume and work of the heart and entire cardiovascular system.”
The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report looked at data which included more than 325,000 women between 15 and 44 years old who had tested positive for Covid-19. 8,200 said they were pregnant and looking at the effects of the pandemic the report found that while the symptoms and death rate among pregnant and non-pregnant women were similar, pregnant women were more likely to be hospitalized. Similarly, the study highlighted that Black and Hispanic pregnant people were most at risk of suffering the effects of Covid-19 compared to their non-pregnant and white peers.
This report comes as some governments have started to ease Covid-19 lockdown measures. “While society has changed since April and May, the virus hasn’t and it’s important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. There are still asymptomatic persons who are infected but don’t yet know they are infected,” says Dr. van Dis, “we still don’t know enough about COVID-19’s effect on pregnancy for women to let their guard down.”
The CDC has concluded that their research indicates that pregnant people might be at an increased risk of suffering severely with Covid-19 and therefore preventive practices should remain in place to protect them against the pandemic.