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Pregnant Women With COVID-19 at High Risk for Complications

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 may hit pregnant women especially hard, U.S. health officials warned in two reports.

In one report, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge pregnant women and health care providers to be aware of the risks for severe COVID-19, which include serious birth outcomes.

Diagnosing COVID-19 during childbirth hospitalizations is important to begin measures to protect women, newborns and others, the researchers said.

For this report, CDC researchers looked at nearly 600 pregnant women with COVID-19 who were hospitalized in 13 states between March and August.

Of those, 54.5% had no symptoms when they entered the hospital. But 16% ended up in the intensive care unit, and 8.5% were placed on ventilators.

Also, 2% of women with and without COVID-19 symptoms lost the pregnancy.

Among 445 pregnancies, 87% were term births and 13% were preterm. Twenty-three percent of symptomatic women delivered early as did 8% of asymptomatic women.

Two newborns died during hospitalization. Both were born to symptomatic women who needed invasive mechanical ventilation.

In a second report, CDC researchers encouraged pregnant women to wear face masks, wash their hands often and maintain social distance to prevent COVID-19. They said these precautions are especially important for women who are obese or develop gestational diabetes.

The researchers found that COVID-19 infections were higher among hospitalized women who were obese before pregnancy and who developed gestational diabetes.

Among these women who were hospitalized, 30% were admitted to the intensive care unit, 14% had to be placed on ventilators, and one died from COVID-19.

Preterm delivery was nearly 70% higher than usual among these women and the rate of stillbirth was more than four times higher among women with COVID-19, the analysis said. It was based on data from 105 women at eight health care centers between March and May.

The reports were published Sept. 16 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

More information

To learn more about COVID-19 and pregnancy, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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