Study suggests monitoring the impact of COVID-19 during pregnancy can protect women & their babies
A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The study found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), receive invasive ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and are at increased risk of death compared to non-pregnant women.
“This new data is certainly concerning for expecting mothers,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “From late January to October 27, 2020, just fewer than 35,000 pregnant women were infected with the COVID-19 virus with 50 deaths across the U.S. the study revealed.”
A separate CDC report suggests “pregnant women with COVID-19 infection might be at risk for preterm delivery.” Some 12.9% births for infected women were preterm, compared to 10.2% of live births among the general population in 2019, pre-pandemic. Among infants tested for coronavirus, 2.6% were positive. Coronavirus infection was most common in infants whose mother tested positive within one week of delivery.
The CDC report went on to detail that although the absolute risks for severe COVID-19 associated outcomes among women were low, pregnant women were at significantly higher risk for severe outcomes when compared to women not pregnant. This finding might be related to physiological changes in pregnancy, including increased heart rate and oxygen consumption, decreased lung capacity, a shift away from cell-mediated immunity, and increased risk for thromboembolic disease.
“The message is clear for pregnant women in Ocean County to remain vigilant and make their best effort to keep themselves and their baby safe,” explained Patty High, OCHD Assistant Public Health Coordinator. “Don’t let the holidays lure you into any high-risk situations. It’s going to be tempting to be around friends and social gatherings but be smart and do the right thing.”
Regenye added another form of protection for pregnant women is to get their seasonal flu vaccine if they haven’t already. To limit the risk for acquiring the COVID-19 virus, pregnant women should reduce unnecessary interactions with persons who might have been exposed to or are infected to COVID-19, including those within their household, as much as possible. When going out or interacting with others, pregnant women should wear a mask, social distance, avoid persons who are not wearing a mask, and frequently wash their hands. Furthermore, they should take measures to ensure their general health, including prenatal care.
For additional information on COVID-19 and the recent CDC study please visit www.cdc.gov, and www.ochd.org. You can also follow the Ocean County Health Department on our Facebook page or Twitter @OCpublichealth.
The OCHD is also providing a general COVID-19 Information Call Hot Line for residents and clinicians to answer questions regarding the coronavirus. The number is 732-341-9700 ext. 7411.
The NJDOH (NJPIES) hotline is available for questions around the clock at 1-800-222-1222 or by dialing 2-1-1. Other related sources; for medical COVID-19 questions call 1-800-962-1253 or Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.