Pregnant women are “at an increased risk of severe Covid-19” compared to other women, an ongoing study finds.
Research from the University of Birmingham and the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that pregnant women infected with the coronavirus are more likely than non-pregnant women to be admitted to intensive care units or placed on a ventilator .
Expectant mothers from ethnic minority groups or with pre-existing conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are especially at increased risk, the researchers said. The study, that Thursday in the professional magazine British Medical Journal (BMJ) has been running since April 2020 and follows a previous paper published in the BMJ last August.
As part of the latest research, the scientists analyzed the results of 192 studies – 115 more than in the August publication – on the effect of Covid-19 on pregnant women and their babies. It found that one in ten pregnant women who had recently given birth and who were hospitalized for any reason had been diagnosed with Covid-19.
A total of 339 pregnant women who had tested positive for the corona virus died from various causes. That’s 0.02 percent of the total of 41,664 women involved in 59 of the studies. In addition, the overall rates of stillbirth and neonatal death were found to be low in suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“Pregnant women belong to the risk group“
However, older age, high BMI, non-white ethnicity, and underlying co-morbidity (the coexistence of multiple conditions), including chronic hypertension and diabetes, have been identified as risk factors for pregnant women developing severe forms of Covid-19.
“Pregnant women should be considered a risk group based on our findings, especially those who (underlying, ed.) have been found to have risk factors for severe Covid-19″, says lead author John Allotey (University of Birmingham) of the WHO Collaborating Center for Global Women’s Health. “Mothers also need to be reassured that the risk to their babies is very low.”