According to a new CDC report, published online in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), pregnant women are more likely to suffer from a severe COVID-19 illness.
Among women between the ages of 15 and 44 with COVID-19, pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization from the disease. They also had a higher risk of admission to ICUs and mechanical ventilation. However, there was no risk of death.
The report said pregnant women were “5.4 times more likely to be hospitalized, 1.5 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and 1.7 times more likely to need mechanical ventilation.”
In addition, the report mentioned that Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black pregnant women were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 infection.
CDC Epidemiologist Sascha Ellington and colleagues said it is important to prevent COVID-19 infection in pregnant women.
They wrote, “During pregnancy, women experience immunologic and physiologic changes that could increase their risk for more severe illness from respiratory infections.”
The CDC reported 8,207 cases of coronavirus in pregnant women as of June 7.
However, the authors warned there was no data to compare COVID-19 hospitalizations arising from pregnancy, including delivery.
“Although data on race/ethnicity were missing for 20% of pregnant women in this study, these findings suggest that pregnant women who are Hispanic and black might be disproportionately affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy,” the authors wrote.
Responding to the CDC report, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has advised calm, adding that the risk of needing aggressive interventions in the CDC report remains low and pregnant women with COVID-19 do not appear to have a greater risk of mortality.
However, ACOG said it is reviewing all its “COVID-19–related clinical and patient materials and will make any necessary revisions to recommendations.”
It said, “ACOG again urges the federal government to use its resources to ensure the safe inclusion of pregnant and lactating patients, including patients of color, in trials for vaccines and therapeutics to ensure that all populations are included in the search for ways to prevent and treat COVID-19.” The authors of the CDC report said there is a need for more complete data to better understand the risk of severe illness in pregnant women. The agency is teaming up with state health departments in COVID-19 pregnancy surveillance to understand the prognosis in pregnant women with COVID-19 infection.