Pregnant people with COVID-19 face higher death risk, large study finds

An international analysis found pregnant people with COVID-19 have a seven times higher risk of dying and greater risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit, needing a ventilator or developing pneumonia, The Washington Post reported Jan. 16.

The meta-analysis, published in BMJ Global Health, followed more than 13,000 pregnant individuals from 12 studies across 12 countries, including the U.S. The analysis found not only increased risks for the pregnant individuals, but that their babies were also twice as likely to need treatment in the intensive care unit after birth and had increased risk of being born preterm.

While newborn death from COVID-19 remains rare, 2 percent of infants born to a person infected with COVID-19 tested positive in the first days after birth, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The vaccine rates for pregnant people are likely low because "the assumption is that if a person is pregnant, they are probably young and for the most part healthy," Emily Smith, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of global health at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told the Post.


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