Pregnant women with Covid-19 have higher rates of maternal mortality

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  • Covid-19 increases the risk of pregnancy complications
  • A study compared Covod-19-positive and -negative pregnant women from 18 countries
  • The researchers advise that pregnant women should strictly implement all recommended Covid-19 preventive measures

Pregnant women infected with Covid-19 have an increased risk of maternal morbidity and mortality, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The research compared pregnant women infected with Covid-19 with uninfected mothers-to-be, and investigated which pregnancy risks may be elevated by the virus.

Pregnant women from 18 countries

The study enrolled 706 pregnant women with a Covid-19 diagnosis and 1 424 uninfected pregnant women from 18 countries. 

The researchers ran the study for eight months from March to October 2020. The participants were at various stages of pregnancy, and those with Covid-19 had their diagnoses confirmed by laboratory tests. 

All the women received the same level of care. Newborn babies were also observed as part of the study.

Severe risks

The research results show that Covid-19 in pregnancy was associated with consistent and substantial increases in severe maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as neonatal complications. The results primarily reflect Covid-19 diagnosed in the third trimester.

Women with the virus had an increased risk for preeclampsia, eclampsia, severe infections, intensive care unit admission, maternal mortality, preterm birth, severe newborn morbidity, and severe perinatal morbidity and mortality. 

The study also found that Covid-19 symptoms like fever and shortness of breath for any duration were associated with an increased risk of severe maternal and neonatal complications. Women with asymptomatic Covid-19 were, however, at higher risk only for maternal morbidity and preeclampsia.

Long-term health effects

Among the women who tested positive, 54 gave birth to Covid-19-positive babies. Caesarean deliveries were also linked with an increased risk of neonatal test positivity. 

The researchers say that pregnant women and their healthcare practitioners should strictly implement all recommended Covid-19 preventive measures.

“Covid-19 infection during pregnancy was associated with a substantial risk of morbidity and mortality in postpartum parents and their infants worldwide, compared with their non-infected pregnant counterparts, especially if these individuals were symptomatic or had comorbidities. There is an urgent need to follow up with these parents and infants because of possible long-term health effects, including long-term Covid-19,” the authors wrote.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click>here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter>here.

READ| Covid-19 infection indoors: This app can tell you how long it will take to catch the virus

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