New Research Clarifies Susceptibility Of Pregnant Women To COVID-19 & Risk Of Mother-Child Transmission

Concerns of whether pregnant women are at a greater risk of contracting or dying from C0VID-19 have been answered in a new research update. If a pregnant woman does contract the deadly infection, how big is the risk of mother-child transmission was answered as well.

Overall, pregnant women are not at greater risk of severe coronavirus than other women, the new research suggests. However, the majority of pregnant women who did fall severely ill were in the later stages of their pregnancy – in the third trimester – indicating the importance for them to socially distance.

According to the study, expectant mothers from black and other minority ethnic groups were more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19. While older women, those who were overweight or obese, and pregnant women with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes were also more likely to be admitted to hospital, researchers say.

The study, published as a pre-print, looked at 427 pregnant women admitted to hospitals in the UK between March 1 and April 14 with confirmed Covid-19 – 4.9 women out of every 1,000 pregnant women.

READ ALSO: Medical Experts Recommend These Safety Tips For Pregnant Women To Cope During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The scientists say this suggests pregnant women are not at a higher risk of experiencing severe illness. When looking at women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, researchers found the inequality persisted even when women from London, the West Midlands and the North West were excluded from the analysis.

This indicates the difference cannot be explained by higher rates of coronavirus infection in those areas. Women who were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in pregnancy were less likely to smoke than a group of comparison pregnant women, the study also suggests.

The paper also reports that one in five babies born to mothers admitted to hospital with the virus were born premature and were admitted to a neonatal unit.

One in 20 babies born had a positive test for coronavirus, but only half of them immediately after birth, suggesting transmission of infection from mother to baby is low, researchers say.

Marian Knight, professor of maternal and child population health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and lead investigator for the study, said:

A very small number of pregnant women do become severely ill with Covid-19 and sadly some women have died.

Our thoughts must remain with their families.

It is concerning that more pregnant women from black and minority ethnic groups are admitted with Covid-19 in pregnancy and this needs urgent investigation.

Most pregnant women who were admitted to hospital were more than six months pregnant, which emphasises the importance of continued social distancing measures in the later stages of pregnancy.

Following the current guidance about careful social distancing will help prevent infection.”

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