According to various studies, pregnant women are at increased risk from COVID 19. The Mayo Clinic website states that “pregnancy increases the risk for severe illness with COVID-19,” and shows that pregnant women with the disease “appear more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care than women who aren’t pregnant… Pregnant women are also more likely to be placed on a ventilator.”
Not only has research shown symptoms to be more severe in pregnant patients, they have been shown to last longer. One study found that half of the pregnant patients with COVID-19 had symptoms lasting longer than three weeks, and 25% were still sick after eight weeks. Vanessa L Jacoby, the senior author of the study, said, “COVID-19 symptoms during pregnancy can last a long time, and have a significant impact on health and well-being.”
A large-scale study, covered by the New York Times, compared pregnant women with COVID-19 to non-pregnant women of the same ages with COVID. The study found that pregnant women were three times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit in the hospital. They were more likely to need a respirator, more likely to be connected to a specialized heart-lung bypass machine, and 70% more likely to die.
Sascha Ellington, a health scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one of the authors of the new study, said, “We are now saying pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness. Previously we said they ‘might be’ at increased risk for severe illness.” Another doctor who works with COVID patients, Dr. Denise Jamieson, said:
This is new information that adds to the growing body of evidence, and really underscores the importance of pregnant women protecting themselves from Covid. It’s important that they wear a mask, and avoid people who are not wearing a mask.
When adjustments were made in the study for race, ethnicity, and underlying health conditions, the results were even worse. Pregnant women were almost three times more likely to need a respirator. There were also three times more likely to be admitted to intensive care. They were 1.7 times more likely to die.
When a pregnant woman dies from COVID, two lives are lost. Each individual death is a tragedy. Erika Becerra was one pregnant COVID victim. She was only 33 and had no underlying health conditions. Her labor was induced as she lay dying, and her baby, a son, survived, and is healthy. But she never got to see her child. According to Becerra’s brother:
She had a normal labor, she gave birth to her son but didn’t get to hold him because right after she gave birth, that’s when they put in the tube and then from there she just started declining.
Towards the last moments, she was tearing up. I know she heard us as we prayed for her, we talked to her, we comforted her in the last moments. All my sister wanted was the best for everybody and she cared about lives. She didn’t deserve to go through what she went through.
According to the CDC, wearing a mask can help to decrease the chances of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable individuals including pregnant women (and by default, their preborn children).
According to another study, COVID-19 can increase the chances of premature birth. Premature birth can cause lifelong health problems in children. In that study, women with COVID-19 gave birth prematurely 12.9% of the time, compared to 10.2% among non-COVID infected women.
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