JUN 06, 2022 7:28 PM PDT

Research Gives New Insight on Effects of COVID-19 on Pregnant Women and Newborns

WRITTEN BY: Alexandria Bass

A Canadian surveillance study published by JAMA found pregnant women who contracted COVID-19 were at a significantly increased risk for COVID-19-related hospitalization and preterm birth. 

Researchers collected data from March 2020 to October 2021 from 6012 pregnant women with a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test at any point in pregnancy. Results were compared with 2 groups of age-matched females, one that included women with COVID-19 who weren’t pregnant and another than included pregnant women without COVID-19 infection.

Of the 6012 pregnant women with COVID-19, 7.75% required hospitalization for COVID, 3.4% required oxygen therapy, and 2.01% were admitted to the intensive care unit. Risk for hospitalization in pregnant women with COVID compared to unpregnant women between 20 and 49 years of age with COVID was 7.75% vs 2.93%. Risk of ICU admission between the two groups was 2.01% vs 0.37%. 

Worse outcomes occurred in pregnant women with COVID-19 who were older, had preexisting high blood pressure, or who had contracted SARS-CoV-2 at a later stage in pregnancy.

Babies were more likely to be premature in pregnant women with COVID-19, even when cases were milder and did not require hospitalization. The rate of preterm birth in COVID-affected pregnancies was 11.1% compared to 6.8% in unaffected pregnancies.

According to the study, of the COVID cases in the pregnant women during the time span in which data were collected, 98.7% were in unvaccinated women and none of the patients who had at least 2 doses of a COVID vaccine had adverse maternal outcomes.

The study’s authors state that their findings are consistent with US surveillance reports, a Norwegian population-level analysis, and an international living systematic review and meta-analysis. Unlike previous studies reported in this study, researchers did not find higher rates of preeclampsia, stillbirths, or C-section deliveries in COVID-19 pregnancies.

The authors also iterate that results from this study do not generalize to infections caused by the Omicron variant since cases occurred before the Omicron outbreak.

Sources: JAMA

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Alexandria (Alex) is a freelance science writer with a passion for educating the public on health issues. Her other professional experience includes working as a speech-language pathologist in health care, a research assistant in a food science laboratory, and an English teaching assistant in Spain. In her spare time, Alex enjoys cycling, lap swimming, jogging, and reading.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...