The research analyzed data from more than 90,000 women in the United States and found that pregnant women were more likely to be admitted to the ICU and require mechanical ventilation.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are more likely to suffer from severe Covid-19 than those who are not expecting a baby. The researchers raised this hypothesis after analyzing data from more than 8,200 pregnant patients and 83,200 non-pregnant patients between the ages of 15 and 44 who contracted Covid-19 in the United States between January and June 2020.
A previous study has found that almost a third of pregnant women who had been infected with the new coronavirus ended up being hospitalized, while only 6% of non-pregnant women had to be hospitalized. However, scientists were unable to distinguish between pregnant women who were hospitalized for issues related to their own pregnancy and those who were hospitalized specifically because of Covid-19. In other words, in this case, hospitalization does not necessarily indicate severe Covid-19.
However, the CDC study revealed an important finding: pregnant women who had been infected with the new coronavirus were more likely to be admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) and require mechanical ventilation – which, according to the researchers, are two important indications of severe Covid-19.
They analyzed that 0.9% of non-pregnant patients were admitted to the ICU, while 1.5% of pregnant patients needed intensive treatment; and 0.3% of non-pregnant women required mechanical ventilation, while 0.5% of pregnant women needed these devices. On the other hand, the scientists found that the risk of death by Covid-19 was the same for both groups of women analyzed: 0.2%.
Although this is one of the largest studies ever done on Covid-19 in relation to pregnancy, it still has some limitations. There were cases of both pregnant and non-pregnant patients in which doctors did not indicate whether there was a need for admission to the ICU or mechanical ventilation. In some cases, it was also not indicated whether the patient died.
Regardless, after the study was published, the CDC updated its website to reinforce that pregnant women should protect themselves against Covid-19 by staying at home and maintaining good hygiene. “In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19,” warned the organization.