We all have been experiencing first hand how much the data is changing in regard to COVID and how exhausting it can be. When we first heard about this virus, it was thought teens and younger children weren’t really at risk.
We’ve learned through research that isn’t the case and everyone should be protecting themselves.
When we were all first learning about COVID and how to navigate this horrible virus, it was thought that pregnant women may not be in a high risk category–or at least there wasn’t enough evidence at that point to come to that conclusion.
Again, we’ve never dealt with something quite like this and that’s why it’s important to listen to the recommendations from our doctors and pay attention to results from studies and surveys– you can’t argue with evidence.
I have a girlfriend who was due with her first child in May and I asked her back in March away how she was holding up. She continued with her job in the medical field and said her doctor said she wasn’t considered to be someone at an elevated risk, which put her mind at ease. (She had a very happy, healthy baby a month early and as far as she knows, she never contracted the virus).
However, now we know more after dealing with COVID for almost a year. There is new research and information showing up all the time and it’s important we keep up with it and educate ourselves.
A new report from the CDC has found that pregnant women who contract the virus can get pretty sick, and are more likely to have complications than women who weren’t pregnant and contracted COVID.
The study found that in a sample of 400,000 women aged 15–44 years with symptomatic COVID-19, pregnant women were more likely to be admitted into intensive care and need invasive ventilation. They also had a 70% greater chance of dying than women who had COVID and weren’t pregnant.
While the study confirms the chances of death and severe complications are still low in pregnant women, it does put them at a higher risk and they need to take extra precautions. As The New York Times reports, pregnancy is now on the list of “conditions that put people with Covid-19 at increased risk of developing severe illness, including a heightened risk of death.”
The CDC reports the number of COVID cases in pregnant women from January 2020-November 2020 have exceeded thirty-six thousand, resulting in fifty deaths.
Science reports while we certainly don’t know everything there is to know about COVID and pregnancy yet, “[f]etal infections later in pregnancy appear to be rare, and experts are cautiously optimistic that the coronavirus won’t warp early fetal development.”
However, being pregnant can make the body more susceptible to the virus. According to Science. “That’s partly because of pregnant women’s uniquely adjusted immune systems, and partly because the coronavirus’ points of attack—the lungs and the cardiovascular system—are already stressed in pregnancy.”
It makes sense: pregnancy already puts lungs under strain and COVID affects the lungs. Denise Jamieson, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine tells Science, “As the uterus grows there is less and less room for the lungs. That’s why pregnant women often feel short of breath. And that affects your pulmonary function.”
So, in order to supply a fetus with the oxygen needed, pregnant people’s bodies are working harder to begin with, which is why they are so vulnerable to something such as COVID.
Of course the best way to protect yourself if you are pregnant is to wear a mask and social distance. That means staying away from close friends and family members who may have been exposed as well.
But that doesn’t mean they have to be isolated at home. It’s imperative that pregnant women don’t skip any of their prenatal appointments and get their flu shot, according to Sascha Ellington, a health scientist with the C.D.C and one of the authors of the study.
While data is always being collected, it’s important to stay on top of the updates and take extra precautions and act accordingly.
It’s also important for the rest of the world to listen to reports like this– you literally cannot argue with science.
If you are going out in public without a mask, or lying to people about the precautions you are taking against the virus, you have no one idea who you are putting at risk.
Even if you don’t think you know someone who is pregnant, you still might. Not to mention you are probably only separated by someone who is expecting by a person or two.
Being pregnant is hard enough during regular times, much less a pandemic, and this report is just another piece of evidence that hits hard, but we have to acknowledge it and act accordingly.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.