Pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill and dying from the coronavirus — and are also more likely to give birth prematurely if infected by the contagion, according to official research.
A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that “pregnant women were at significantly higher risk for severe outcomes compared with nonpregnant women” if infected.
Expectant women were more likely to be admitted to ICUs and need a ventilator, and data showed “a 70% increased risk for death associated with pregnancy,” the report said.
The danger increased with age, and “pregnant women aged 35–44 years with COVID-19 were nearly four times as likely to require invasive ventilation and twice as likely to die than were nonpregnant women of the same age,” the report published Monday said. However, it stressed that the risks for women generally were low.
A separate CDC report, also published Monday, said that data suggests “pregnant women with [COVID-19] infection might be at risk for preterm delivery.”
Some 12.9% births for infected women were preterm, compared to 10.2% of live births among the general population in 2019, pre-pandemic. Black and Hispanic women were “disproportionally represented,” the CDC said.
Among infants tested for coronavirus, 2.6% were positive. Coronavirus infection was most common in infants whose mother tested positive within one week of delivery, the report said.
Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of the gynecology and obstetrics department at Emory University School of Medicine, told CNN that pregnant women need to take extra precautions.
The reports demonstrate that “their infants are at risk,” she told CNN. “Even if their infants are not infected, they may be affected,” Jamieson said.