According to a new study on COVID-19 and pregnancy published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it appears that premature births are related to coronavirus infections. The CDC report also tracked abortions and stillbirths in patients with the virus.
The researchers examined medical data from about 600 hospital patients between March and mid-August, who tested positive for COVID-19 and were pregnant. Among the 445 births during the study, 12.6% of births were premature births, which is more than 25% higher than the premature birth rate for the U.S. general population, according to the CDC. Premature births were three times more common in symptomatic patients than those who were asymptomatic.
Ten patients experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, but the report noted that it “probably underestimates the percentage of pregnancy losses that occur among women with COVID-19.” Five of the pregnancy losses occurred after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Wednesday’s report echoed research published in JAMA earlier this summer that noted higher cases of preterm and cesarean delivery among those with coronavirus infections, as well as “significantly higher” cases of stillbirths during the pandemic at a London hospital.
More than half of the patients in the new study showed no symptoms of the disease when they were admitted to the hospital. Of those with symptoms, 16.2% of cases were severe enough to need treatment in an intensive care unit and 8.5% needed ventilators. Two patients died.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), one of the nation’s leading medical professional groups, told CBS News it was reviewing the latest report.
“The pandemic remains a rapidly evolving situation,” Christopher Zahn, vice president of practical activities at ACOG, said in an email.
Zahn stressed that pregnant people, especially those “at higher risk of exposure due to employment or the underlying conditions,” should take additional precautions to protect themselves from the virus, including “washing their hands.” , distance yourself socially and wear a mask “.
When the coronavirus first arrived in the United States earlier this year, doctors had extremely limited information about the specific risks it could pose during pregnancy. It was not until June that theindicating that pregnant women “could be at increased risk for serious COVID-19 disease.” In this report, the researchers noted that “pregnancy was associated with hospitalization and an increased risk of admission to the intensive care unit and mechanical ventilation, but not death.”
In addition, black and Latino pregnant patients “appear to be disproportionately affected” by COVID-19 infection, according to the CDC. This would be in line with a higher overall level, as well as the the coronavirus pandemic has taken over i communities.
After the June report was released, a Department of Health and Human Services official reprimanded CDC, the Washington Post reported. In an email obtained by the Post, Paul Alexander, senior advisor to, HHS ‘deputy secretary of public affairs, said the report “reads in a way to frighten women … as if the president and his administration can’t fix it and make it worse.”