According to a new study examining the effects of coronavirus in pregnant women, COVID-19 mortality rates showed to be 13 times higher in pregnant mothers
Researchers from the University of Washington observed 240 pregnant women in Washington State between March and June 2020 and found that mortality rates were significantly higher when compared to similarly aged individuals.
Of the 240 pregnant women with COVID-19 infections detected through June, three died while 24 were hospitalised.
The study also found:
- Pregnant women with COVID-19 had 3.5 times higher COVID-19 associated hospitalisation rate.
- Although mortality rates were 13 times higher most had asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 disease and healthy pregnancies.
- The three women who died were from minority ethnic groups and most had underlying conditions.
Dr Kristina Adams Waldorf, an obstetrician-gynaecologist with the University of Washington School of Medicine, and senior author of the study said: “The mortality rate was shockingly high and we were very surprised by this.
“We are gravely concerned that COVID-19-associated maternal deaths have been massively undercounted nationally and that the impact on pregnant patients, particularly with underlying conditions is greater than currently underappreciated.”
“The idea that pregnant patients were protected from COVID-19 is a myth,” added Waldorf.
“Our data indicates that pregnant people did not avoid the pandemic as we hoped that they would and communities of colour bore the greatest burden,” Waldorf said. She urges pregnant women to discuss the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination with their prenatal care provider.
“These results suggest that the exclusion of pregnant patients from COVID-19 vaccine trials was a mistake. Here is an important group that is typically highly vulnerable to influenza infections and, yet they were excluded from COVID-19 vaccine trials. Pregnant patients should have been given the option to enroll in vaccine trials so that we would better understand vaccine risks and benefits to them.”
“We still need to be really careful about how large our bubble is within our families, to be very careful about handwashing and mask use, and to do everything that we can until enough of the population is vaccinated that we have herd immunity in the U.S., ” she concluded.
The study was published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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