With Covid-19 fears rising once again, some experts have highlighted that pregnant women are at a greater risk of hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) admission if infected. A Canadian surveillance study found that Covid-19 during pregnancy was significantly associated with increased risk of adverse maternal outcomes and preterm birth.
The study, which was published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) by researchers from the University of British Columbia, showed that women who are pregnant and Covid-infected possessed a greater risk of ICU admission and even a premature birth.
“It is important that pregnant people consider the increased risk and take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their infant by getting vaccinated, getting boosted and avoiding exposure to COVID-19 where possible,” said Dr. Deborah Money, a professor at UBC’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.
“Preterm births can result in serious and lifelong impacts on the infant,” said Dr Elisabeth McClymont, a UBC postdoctoral fellow and first author of the research.
The findings showed that among 6,012 pregnant individuals with SARS-CoV-2 in Canada, the greatest proportion of cases – 35.7 per cent – were diagnosed at 28 to 37 weeks of gestation. Of them, 466 (7.75 per cent) required hospitalization and 121 (2.01 per cent) were admitted to an ICU.
The study found that the risk increased with age and comorbidities like high blood pressure. However, those fully vaccinated were at a lower risk of experiencing adverse maternal outcomes.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has repeatedly urged people to get their vaccine shots before or during pregnancy to dispel fears that vaccinations could be harmful to certain communities “If you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19… (and) are at increased risk of complications that can affect your pregnancy and developing baby,” the CDC says on its website. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you from getting very sick from the disease, it adds.
Despite doubts being raised, no evidence has been found where Covid-19 vaccines have caused fertility problems in women or men.