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CDC: Pregnant women with COVID-19 had higher rates of hospital, ICU admission :

June 25, 2020

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A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found pregnant women with COVID-19 may be more likely to have severe illness than women who are not pregnant.

The CDC called on clinicians to counsel pregnant women about the risks and how to protect themselves.

The findings come from an analysis of data on 91,412 women of reproductive age who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, of whom 9% were pregnant.

Rates of cough and shortness of breath were similar between pregnant and nonpregnant women, but nonpregnant women were more likely to report headaches, muscle aches, fever, chills and diarrhea, according to the findings published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

About 31.5% of pregnant women with COVID-19 were hospitalized compared to 5.8% of nonpregnant women. Researchers could not determine how much of the difference was caused by pregnant women being hospitalized for labor and delivery vs. illness caused by the virus.

About 1.5% of pregnant women and 0.9% of nonpregnant women were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Adjusted for age, underlying conditions and race, pregnant women had 1.5 times the risk of being admitted to the ICU.

Roughly 0.5% of pregnant women required mechanical ventilation compared to 0.3% of nonpregnant women. After adjustment, the risk of mechanical ventilation was 1.7 times higher for pregnant women. Death rates were the same for both groups at 0.2%.

Data also indicated Black and Hispanic pregnant women may be affected by SARS-CoV-2 at disproportionate rates compared to white women, according to the CDC.

Missing data on race and symptoms for some women may have impacted the findings, and many women were excluded from the analysis because their pregnancy status was not available. The CDC also noted pregnant women were more likely to have chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, but the role of these conditions in the outcomes was not clear.

While more studies are needed to fully understand the risks for pregnant women, the CDC said they should take steps to say healthy.

“Specific actions pregnant women can take include not skipping prenatal care appointments, limiting interactions with other people as much as possible, taking precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when interacting with others, having at least a 30-day supply of medicines, and talking to their health care provider about how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the report.

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