Pregnancy is associated with a higher than usual toll due to respiratory illness. This is due to the nature of the peculiar physiology of pregnancy, with marked alterations in the immune system, coagulation, and activity of the heart and lungs. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has infected over 239 million people worldwide and caused the deaths of over 4.8 million. Early on in the pandemic, pregnancy was deemed a high-risk condition for COVID-19, with public health officials recommending these individuals to shelter in isolation. Respiratory viruses may therefore cause severe illness in pregnancy, which impacts the fetus as well. Some earlier studies have found that COVID-19 may increase the risk of intensive care unit (ICU) admission, the need for invasive ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and death.
Study: Does The Presence Of Symptoms Affect Pregnancy Outcomes In Third Trimester In Women With SARS-CoV-2. Image Credit: MilanMarkovic78 / Shutterstock.com
Background “Most pregnancy and delivery outcomes were similar between COVID-19-positive and -negative parturients.”
Study findings The current study was conducted at Israel’s Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center and included women between 18-50 years with a single term gestation who were screened for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The subjects were either negative on screening, positive but asymptomatic, or positive and symptomatic. The current study, which was published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, discusses the risk of COVID-19-induced severe maternal illness in pregnant women who develop symptomatic illness in the third trimester.
As many as one in ten pregnant women are COVID-19-positive at the time of admission to the labor ward. Almost 80% of this group are asymptomatic, which underlines the need for universal testing in this population. Other studies have shown that preterm delivery and Cesarean section rates are increased with COVID-19 in pregnancy. However, there is little direct evidence to support a definitive conclusion.
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