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COVID-19 Increases Risk Of Pregnancy Death Sevenfold – Study

According to a new study led by Emily Smith, an assistant professor of global health at the George Washington Milken Institute of Public Health, and her team of researchers at George Washington University in Washington D.C., COVID-19 infection in pregnancy increases a woman’s risk of death sevenfold and significantly increases her odds of needing intensive care.
According to a U.S. News story, the experts also caution that contracting the virus during pregnancy increases the risk of pneumonia.
“This study provides the most complete evidence to date that COVID-19 poses a risk during pregnancy,” Smith added.

“Our findings highlight the critical relevance of COVID-19 vaccination for all women of reproductive age,” she said in a university news release.

These studies, which involved more than 13,000 pregnant women, had patient data pooled from 12 studies conducted in 12 countries, including the United States.

Compared to uninfected pregnant women, moms-to-be with COVID-19 infection not only had seven times higher risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth, but were at three times greater risk of needing ICU admission, says U.S. News.

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They had about 15 times higher risk of needing ventilator treatment and about 23 times higher risk of developing pneumonia, which is a potentially life-threatening complication of COVID, it says.
The pregnant women with COVID also had a five times higher risk of blood clots that can cause pain, swelling or other life-threatening complications.

The babies born to women who were infected with COVID also developed problems. They were almost twice as likely to be admitted to a neonatal ICU after birth, and had higher odds for preterm birth. Preterm babies are at high risk of having lifelong health problems, Smith said, including delays in early childhood cognitive development, according to the U.S. News report.
The study noted that many women of childbearing age remain unvaccinated in the US and elsewhere, adding that some women hesitate or refuse to get the vaccine or booster shot because they think the risks of having COVID are small for young women or are unsure about vaccine safety during pregnancy.

Smith said more than 80 countries still do not recommend that all pregnant and lactating women get the COVID vaccine. This meta-analysis provides public health officials and the public with clear, consistent and compelling findings, the U.S. News quoted her as saying.

“This study shows the risk of getting COVID-19 for both mother and baby,” Smith said, adding that, “All countries, including the United States, should make access to COVID vaccines an urgent priority in order to save lives and prevent health problems.”

The study findings were published Jan. 17 in BMJ Global Health. The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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