Researchers report 10-15% increase in pregnant patients battling severe COVID-19 by the end of summer
A recent study has found that the delta COVID-19 variant increases the risk of complications in non-vaccinated pregnant women.
study, published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, analyzed the trend of severe COVID-19 illness in pregnant women as the highly transmissible delta variant became the dominant strain.
From May 2020 to September 2021, 1,515 pregnant women in the Dallas public health system were diagnosed with COVID-19, including 82 severe cases (81 of unvaccinated patients) and 11 requiring mechanical ventilation. The study authors reported two maternal deaths.
COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant women low despite serious risk
The results indicated that about 5% of pregnant patients battled severe COVID-19 by March 2021, before rising to 10-15% by the end of the summer, amid a delta-driven surge.
Emily Right, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and lead researcher on the study. Dallas Morning News Concern over future effects for pregnant women who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I am concerned about the future of pregnant women who have not been vaccinated,” the official told the outlet. “We have experienced sick patients with this last variant, so it means we have to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
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The study concluded that pregnant women diagnosed with the delta type were more likely to have serious illness and those who were not vaccinated were more likely to be hospitalized. Dr. Aaron Glatt, an infectious disease specialist and a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America who was not directly involved in the study, told health day: “If you are pregnant and you get COVID-19, your risk of becoming seriously ill is increased.”
Researchers urge pregnant women to get vaccinated as the best way to prevent COVID-19. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert urging pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of September 27, 2021, CDC data indicates more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in pregnant women, of whom 22,000 were hospitalized, with 161 deaths. Despite the serious risk, the CDC reports that only 31% of pregnant women ages 18 to 49 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.