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COVID-19 infection may make pregnant women more severely ill

Used with permission from Orlando Health.
Used with permission from Orlando Health.

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Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 have the potential to become more severely ill than women who are not pregnant, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women who have been infected have a greater likelihood of being admitted to a hospital, admitted to an intensive care unit or requiring mechanical ventilation when compared to non-pregnant women.

Mortality rate remained the same

These findings add to what we now know about the impact of COVID-19 and how it has affected American women. While pregnant women are at an increased risk of being admitted to an ICU or needing mechanical ventilation, the overall risk of these events has remained low. It is important to note that pregnant patients do not appear to be at increased risk of death due to COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant women in the same age groups.

The publication of this paper is an important reminder that we remain in the midst of a pandemic and continue to learn more about how the virus affects certain populations differently, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. We now have evidence that the pandemic will negatively impact maternal health outcomes.

Complications may occur

To date, deliveries of COVID-19 positive mothers at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies have largely been uncomplicated. However, several have been associated with ICU admissions, most commonly for management of pneumonia. None have required mechanical ventilation.

Reduce your risk

In all ways possible, you should try to reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection. In addition to the guidelines that we have heard and still stress repeatedly -- exercise social distancing, wear a face mask in public places and wash your hands often -- pregnant women can take additional preventive action. These include:

  • Keeping all prenatal care appointments
  • Limiting your interactions with others
  • Taking precautions around those currently exhibiting signs of illness
  • Having a 30-day supply of necessary medicines readily available

Additionally, influenza vaccination is recommended in pregnancy and should not be overlooked. For other more specific suggestions, talk to your health care provider about how you can remain healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By actively taking what precautions you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 -- particularly in light of what is occurring in Florida presently -- you lessen the chance of health complications for both you and your loved ones moving forward.