Women who give birth while infected with COVID-19 are five times more likely to end up in the ICU and 10 TIMES more likely to die
- Researchers compared women undergoing childbirth who were and were not infected with COVID-19
- Women with Covid were 5.7 times more likely to end up in the ICU at 5.2% compared to 0.9% of women without Covid
- About 0.1% of mothers with the virus died in comparison with 0.01% of those who weren’t infected, a 10-fold difference
- COVID-19-infected women in labor were also at a greater risk of needing mechanical ventilation or giving birth prematurely
Pregnant women who go into labor while infected with COVID-19 are at greater risk of severe complications and death than those without the virus, a new study suggests.
Researchers compared women across the country who were in childbirth with or without a positive Covid test.
They found that mothers-to-be who gave birth with the virus were five times more likely to end up in intensive care units (ICUs) and 10 times more likely to die.
The team, from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, says the findings affirm previous research on the effects of Covid in pregnant women and highlight the importance of making sure this high-risk group gets vaccinated.
Researchers compared women undergoing childbirth who were and were not infected with COVID-19. Pictured: A pregnant woman waits in a food pantry line at S. Mary’s Church in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 2020
Women with Covid were 5.7 times more likely to end up in the ICU at 5.2% compared to 0.9% of women without Covid and 10 times more likely to die ay 0.1% compared to 0.1% (above)
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team looked at more than 869,000 women aged 18 and older who gave birth at 499 hospitals and medical centers across the country between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
Of the expecting mothers, about 18,700, or 2.2 percent, had COVID-19 and the remaining 850,000, or 97.8 percent, did not.
Researchers examined the differences in outcomes such as risk of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and death between the two groups.
They found that women in childbirth with Covid were more likely to be admitted to ICUs than women without the virus at 5.2 percent compared to 0.9 percent – a 5.7-fold greater risk.
Additionally, 1.5 percent of COVID-19-infected women in labor needed mechanical ventilation compared to 0.1 percent of non-infected women, meaning the risk of respiratory failure was 15 times greater among those with Covid.
The risk of death was also greater among women who tested positive for the virus.
Mothers-to-be who gave birth with COVID-19 were 10 times more likely to die than women who gave birth without the disease at 0.1 percent compared to 0.01 percent.
Researchers did not a find differences in rates of Cesarean section and vaginal births between the women with COVID-19 and women without it.
However, women infected with the virus were much more likely to give birth prematurely with 4.1 percent giving birth before 32 weeks compared to 2.6 percent of non-infected women – a 1.6-fold difference.
There was no difference in length of hospital stay with women in each group admitted for around two days each.
However, women with COVID-19 were three times more likely to need to be admitted to a nursing facility or other type of care center at 0.6 percent in comparison with 0.2 percent.
Because of the higher risks that pregnant women face due to COVID-19, health officials have stressed the need for those expecting to be vaccinated.
Vaccine makers and public health agencies say studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. are safe for pregnant women.
Some preliminary studies have even found that, if a mother gets vaccinated, she can transfer COVID-19 antibodies to her newborn through placenta or breast milk.
‘This cohort study found that women with COVID-19 who were giving birth had a statistically significantly higher mortality rate…compared with women without COVID-19,’ the authors wrote.
‘The need for ICU admission and respiratory failure requiring intubation were statistically significantly higher among women with COVID-19.
‘Future research is needed to further understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19 during pregnancy and to better characterize the long-term sequelae.’