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Preventing and identifying coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in pregnant women is essential, as new data suggest some are at risk of severe illness or pregnancy loss.
Surveillance data from hospitals in 13 states showed that among 598 pregnant women aged 15 to 49 years with COVID-19 who were hospitalized between March and August, about half were asymptomatic at admission. They were admitted most often during their third trimester of pregnancy. Among 324 women for whom the reason for hospitalization was known, asymptomatic women were almost always admitted to give birth rather than for COVID-19–related reasons.
Admissions among symptomatic women occurred most often during their first or second trimester of pregnancy, and they were slightly more likely to be admitted for COVID-19–related illness than for labor and delivery. About 16% of symptomatic pregnant women were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), 8.5% required mechanical ventilation, and 2 died. None of the asymptomatic women received ICU care or ventilation and none died.
Nearly one-quarter of symptomatic women who had a live birth delivered prematurely compared with 8% of asymptomatic women. Seven symptomatic women and 3 who were asymptomatic experienced a pregnancy loss.
Among the 16% of symptomatic women who received investigational treatments, about 7% were treated with the antiviral medication remdesivir and 7% received hydroxychloroquine.
Physicians should be aware of the potential adverse effects that pregnant women with COVID-19 face, the authors wrote. “Identifying COVID-19 during birth hospitalizations is important to guide preventive measures to protect pregnant women, parents, newborns, other patients, and hospital personnel.”
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Kuehn BM. COVID-19 Poses Pregnancy Risks. JAMA. 2020;324(18):1819. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21129
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