WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A new review may offer guidance on women who contract COVID-19 during pregnancy.
Pregnant women with COVID-19 are less likely to have symptoms than those who aren't expecting -- but they're more likely to require critical care, according to the study.
Having COVID-19 also increases a mother-to-be's risk of having a preterm baby and of her baby being admitted to the neonatal unit, researchers found.
The risk of severe COVID-19 among pregnant women is higher among those who are older, overweight and have preexisting health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, the researchers also concluded.
The international team of researchers, led by Shakila Thangaratinam, with the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Global Women's Health at the University of Birmingham in England, looked at 77 studies that included more than 11,400 pregnant and recently pregnant women hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Compared with non-pregnant women, the researchers found that pregnant and recently pregnant women with COVID-19 were less likely to have a fever and muscle pain, but were more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and to require ventilation.
One-quarter of babies born to mothers with COVID-19 were admitted to the neonatal unit, which is higher than the rate among babies born to mothers without the coronavirus.
However, stillbirth and newborn death rates were low among mothers with COVID-19, according to the study. The results were published Sept. 1 in the BMJ.
The findings show that health care providers need to be aware that pregnant women with the virus might require intensive care and specialized baby care, Thangaratinam and her colleagues said in a journal news release.
Also, pregnant women with preexisting health conditions as well as obese and older women need to be considered at high risk for COVID-19, the researchers added.
It's believed that pregnant women are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection, and there are concerns about potential harm to mothers and babies. However, published reviews on COVID-19 in pregnancy quickly become outdated as new data becomes available.
The findings from this study provide a strong evidence base for guidelines on COVID-19 and pregnancy, according to the researchers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 and pregnancy.