Getting COVID-19 while pregnant shows higher risk of premature birth, hospitalization: study

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Pregnant people are at a much higher risk of ending up in the hospital, or giving birth early, if they become infected with COVID-19, according to a UBC study.

Lead researcher Dr. Deborah Money says the analysis shows those who are pregnant and come down with the virus are between six and seven times more likely to be hospitalized, and eight times more likely to end up in the ICU compared to people their same age who aren’t pregnant.

She says the study finds the fetus aren’t likely to come down with the virus.

“Infants of women with COVID don’t appear to be at any significant risk of getting the infection themselves, but there is a slightly higher rate of pre-term birth,” Money says.

The research finds 15 per cent of people who come down with the virus while pregnant give birth prematurely, double the national average.

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With COVID-19 infections among pregnant people on the rise, it could put more strain on the health-care system, Money says.

“We are seeing more and more women who are pregnant. We are over 2,100 cases in the country right now, and the numbers are going up and up.”

Compounding the issues, those who are pregnant are also being told they probably shouldn’t be vaccinated right now, she says.

“There is essentially no information about these vaccines in pregnancy. And yet, often, women who are pregnant are also in the workforce,” Money says.

She adds pregnant people need to take COVID-19 health measures very seriously to minimize their risk of getting the infection.

There have been 2,143 recorded COVID-19 pregnancies in Canada, but the research found at the end of Septmeber, there were only 869 pregnant people with COVID-19. Of them, 430 were analyzed from three provinces. According to the study, it looked at data on 353 hospital admissions of patients between the ages of 18 and 45.

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