Severity of COVID-19 Determines Likelihood of Pregnancy Complications

Contemporary OB/GYN Journal, Vol 66 No 3, Volume 66, Issue 03

This article is on based on information presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, which is being held from Jan. 25 to Jan. 30.

For more information and registration details, visit SMFM.org.

According to information presented on Thursday, Jan. 28, at SMFM’s 41st Annual Pregnancy Meeting, pregnant women who become severely or critically ill because of COVID-19 are at a greater risk of dying and experiencing serious pregnancy complications. These women were compared to those who have had COVID-19 but were asymptomatic.

Pregnant women with mild or moderate illness were not at higher risk of pregnancy complications than those without symptoms. The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, according to SMFM.

The study examined medical records of 1,219 pregnant women from 33 hospitals in 14 states from March 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. All patients tested positive for COVID-19; 47 percent were asymptomatic, 27 percent were mild, 14 percent were moderate, 8 percent were severe, and 4 percent were critical.

“Our research shows that serious pregnancy complications appear to occur in women who have severe or critical cases of COVID and not those who have mild or moderate cases,” said Torri D. Metz, MD, MS, who is a maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist and associate professor at the University of Utah Health. Metz was the study’s lead author.

According to SMFM, findings also showed that pregnant women who become severely or critically ill due to COVID-19 were older, had a higher body mass index, and were more likely to have underlying medical conditions, such as asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and high blood pressure. These women were more likely to die or have serious complications, such as cesarean delivery; heavy bleeding after giving birth, known as postpartum hemorrhage; high blood pressure during pregnancy; and preterm birth. High blood pressure and preterm birth also have the potential to cause long-term health problems in women or their infants.