15 Percent of Pregnant Women With COVID-19 Experience Severe Disease

Nearly all of those with severe disease in case series were overweight or obese before pregnancy

woman in labor

TUESDAY, May 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Fifteen percent of pregnant women with COVID-19 have severe disease, according to a case series published online May 18 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Erica M. Lokken, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues describe maternal disease and obstetrical outcomes associated with COVID-19 in a retrospective study of pregnant patients from six hospital systems between Jan. 21 and April 17, 2020.

Forty-six pregnant patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were identified. The researchers found that 93.5 percent of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection were symptomatic; 43.5 and 50.0 percent were in their second or third trimester, respectively. In a median of 24 days, symptoms resolved. Seven of the women were hospitalized and one was admitted to the intensive care unit. Six cases (15 percent) were classified as severe COVID-19; nearly all patients with severe disease were overweight or obese before pregnancy, had asthma, or had other comorbidities. During the study period, there were eight deliveries, including one preterm birth at 33 weeks to improve pulmonary status in a woman with Class III obesity. There was one stillbirth of unknown etiology.

"Taken together, pregnant women should be considered a high risk population for severe COVID-19 disease, particularly for women in the second and third trimesters that began pregnancy overweight or obese," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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