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Bad News for Pregnancies with COVID-19 Infection, Reports New Study

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Even mild COVID-19 response in pregnant patients has health issues.

Here’s the latest research news on what women who are pregnant may experience with COVID-19—even if their response to the disease is mild.

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Being Pregnant with COVID-19

Earlier we reported on what women during their pregnancy can expect if infected with the coronavirus.

What To Expect When You Are Expecting With COVID-19

Today, this bit of news is updated with a recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology where scientists report that symptoms for pregnant women—even those with a relatively mild response to COVID-19—can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer.

Pregnancy Symptoms With COVID-19

After analyzing data from 594 non-hospitalized pregnant women, the researchers found that like the general public, pregnant women experience the more common symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat, body aches and fever. However, due to their pregnancy and the complication of having a viral infection, the study reports that the list of symptoms has grown and the following symptoms and incidences were observed:

• Primary first symptoms were cough (20 percent), sore throat (16 percent), body aches (12 percent), and fever (12 percent); by comparison, fever occurs in 43 percent of non-pregnant hospitalized patients.

• Loss of taste or smell was the first symptom in 6 percent of pregnant women.

• Other symptoms included shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, or dizziness.

• 60 percent of women had no symptoms after four weeks of illness; but for 25 percent, symptoms persisted and lasted eight or more weeks.

• The median time for symptoms to resolve was 37 days.

• Medical conditions for some participants included hypertension, pre-gestational diabetes, asthma, cardiac disease, thyroid disease, anxiety and depression

Why Your Throat Is Sore From Wearing A Mask

According to a University of California San Francisco news release, doctors concur that pregnancy even among non-hospitalized patients with the virus is a serious health concern.

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“We found that pregnant people with COVID-19 can expect a prolonged time with symptoms,” said senior author Vanessa L. Jacoby, MD, MAS, vice chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF, and co-principal investigator of the national pregnancy study. “COVID-19 symptoms during pregnancy can last a long time, and have a significant impact on health and well-being.”

Demographics of the Pregnancies

The demographics of the patients involved in the study consisted of the following factors:

• Tested positive between March 22 and July 10, and had a mean age of 31 years.

• Health care workers made up nearly a third of the cases.

• The participants were geographically diverse with 34 percent from the Northeast, 25 percent from the West, 21 percent from the South, and 18 percent from the Midwest.

• Thirty-one percent of the participants were Latina, and 9 percent were Black.

• The average gestational age at the time of enrollment in the study was approximately 24 weeks.

The importance of the study’s results is that more information about the coronavirus is needed in order to assess the risks involved in an infection to guide physicians in the best treatment for their pregnant patients.

For more about pregnancy and health, here is a recent informative article titled, “Too Much Folic Acid Could Harm Fetal Brain Warns Study.”

Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: Courtesy of Paulavsouza from Pixabay

References:

COVID-19 Has a Prolonged Effect for Many During Pregnancy” University of California San Francisco news release October 7, 2020.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Pregnancy” Rasmussen, Sonja A. MD, MS; Jamieson, Denise J. MD, MPH; Obstetrics & Gynecology: May 2020, Volume 135, Issue 5: pp 999-1002.

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