a new one BMJ Global Health Infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus on any night during pregnancy increases a mother’s risk of dying almost eightfold compared with an uninfected mother, the study warns. A team of researchers screened 137 studies and analyzed 12 studies conducted in Sweden, Italy, Spain, United States of America, Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Hong Kong and China.
In this analysis, the researchers considered four categories of outcomes: hospitalization and intensive care, maternal mortality and morbidity, adverse birth outcomes, and fetal and neonatal mortality. From February 2020 to July 2021, the 12 studies enrolled a total of 13,136 participants. All participants underwent RT-PCR testing, and 1942 tested positive for Covid-19 during pregnancy.
Pregnant women infected with Covid-19 were four times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 15 times more likely to require ventilator support, the study found. Pregnant women with Covid-19 are at the highest risk of developing pneumonia as they are 23 times more likely to contract the disease. And the risk of developing blood clots was five times higher.
Babies born to mothers infected with Covid-19 were almost twice as likely to end up in neonatal care. Babies were also three times more likely to be born prematurely, or 34 weeks early. Low birth weight was an additional risk factor (19% higher odds) for babies born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2.
“These findings underscore the global need for targeted vaccination and non-drug interventions to prevent Covid-19 in pregnancy,” the researchers concluded. “Further efforts are needed to increase our risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2.” An understanding of optimal clinical care and management strategies for pregnant women and their newborns.”
Pregnant women are at a much higher risk of complications from Covid-19 because their immune systems may undergo changes that could make them more susceptible to respiratory viruses, doctors say.
Certain factors put pregnant women infected with Covid-19 at higher risk of complications during or after pregnancy, according to the CDC. This includes underlying medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, and high blood pressure.
Women belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups may also be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 during or after pregnancy, according to the CDC. This is mainly because they face health inequalities and lack of access to adequate healthcare facilities or treatment.
One way to reduce the risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus during pregnancy is to opt for a telemedicine consultation with your gynecologist and primary physician to avoid frequent visits to clinics and hospitals that tend to be in high-risk areas. In addition to wearing a well-fitting N95 mask, it is best to avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces and crowds.