Pregnant women with Covid-19 infection face seven times increased risk of dying and a significantly elevated risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit or suffering from pneumonia, a new study has shown. According to the study published in BMJ Global Health, Covid-19 during pregnancy also increases the risk that the baby will need to be admitted to intensive care.
"This study provides the most comprehensive evidence to date suggesting that Covid-19 is a threat during pregnancy," said Emily R. Smith, lead author of the study, and an assistant professor of global health at the US-based George Washington University. "Our findings underscore the importance of Covid-19 vaccination for all women of childbearing age," she added.
Moreover, the researchers found that compared to uninfected pregnant women, pregnant women with Covid-19 infection had more than three times the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit. People with Covid-19 who need ICU care are also more likely to die. Covid-19 can impair breathing ability, and in severe cases, patients require mechanical ventilation to survive, the study showed.
There is also an about 23 times higher risk of developing pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening complication of Covid-19, and an over 5 times higher risk of thromboembolic disease (blood clots) that can cause pain, swelling, and other life-threatening issues in Covid-19 infection. Smith points out that, despite the very serious health risks, more than 80 countries still do not recommend that all pregnant and lactating women receive the Covid vaccine.
People with COVID-19 during pregnancy are more likely to experience complications that can affect their pregnancy and developing baby compared to people without COVID-19 during pregnancy. For example, COVID-19 during pregnancy increases the risk of delivering a preterm (earlier than 37 weeks) or stillborn infant. People with COVID-19 during pregnancy may also be more likely to have other pregnancy complications.