Expectant mums twice as likely to suffer severe Covid than other women, study findsMarch 11, 2021
EXPECTANT mums are more than twice as likely to suffer severe Covid compared to other younger women.
Research reveals the risk from the virus to the unborn child is very low. But pregnant women were 2.1 times more likely to end up in intensive care as a result of Covid infection.
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And their risk of needing ventilation was 2.6 times higher, according to the Birmingham University findings published in the BMJ.
Experts analysed the findings of 192 studies into the impact of Covid on pregnant women and their babies.
They found their risk of severe disease was higher, particularly those from ethnic minority or with long-term conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Lead researcher Dr John Allotey, from Birmingham University, said: “Pregnant women should be considered a high risk group, particularly those identified to have risk factors, for severe Covid based on our findings.
“Mothers should also be reassured that the risks to their babies is very low.”
The team found pregnant women were more likely to be asymptomatic after catching Covid, with just four in ten showing signs such as fever or cough.
Researcher Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women's Health at Birmingham University, said: “Pregnant women and healthcare professionals will need to take into account the additional risks faced by pregnant women with Covid in making decisions such as taking-up of vaccines if offered to prevent Covid, and plan management in pregnancy.”
Pregnant women are not yet routinely offered the Covid jab in the UK – as it has not been tested on them.
But Government advice is vaccination should be considered for expectant mums if their chances of exposure to the virus is high, or if they have an underlying health conditions that raises their risk of complications.
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College Obstetricians of Gynaecologists, said around one in 5,000 pregnant women end up in intensive care after catching Covid.
He said: “This study supports previous data that shows the majority of pregnant women with Covid will experience mild or moderate symptoms, but for pregnant women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy or have pre-existing medical problems, they are at a higher risk of developing severe illness.
“We encourage pregnant women to continue to pay particular attention to social distancing measures and good hygiene, and contact their maternity team if they have any concerns about their or their baby’s health."
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