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While data is limited around birth outcomes and COVID-19, two new federal reports found that more than half of pregnant women infected with the virus were asymptomatic, or showed no symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday published an early release for two reports relating to pregnancy and COVID-19.
One report found that among 598 hospitalized pregnant women with COVID-19, 55% were asymptomatic at admission.
“Testing policies based on the presence of symptoms might miss many SARS-CoV-2 infections during pregnancy,” said the CDC report.
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The CDC advised pregnant women to avoid close contact with infected individuals and maintain six feet apart from non-household members, in addition to general COVID-19 preventative measures like wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene.
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In the same study, around 16% of 272 pregnant women who showed symptoms for the virus needed intensive care, while nearly 9% underwent invasive mechanical ventilation and two women died.
None of these outcomes occurred among asymptomatic pregnant women, the CDC reported.
The most commonly reported symptoms were fever or chills and cough.
Both symptomatic and asymptomatic women experienced pregnancy losses, which accounted for around 2% of pregnancies.
It was also noted that preterm births among symptomatic women were approximately three times more frequent than among asymptomatic cases; 23% vs, 8%, respectively.
A second CDC report published Wednesday found an even higher rate of asymptomatic cases among pregnant women admitted for obstetric reasons at 81% or 50 of 62 women. Approximately 30% of pregnant women hospitalized for COVID-19 needed intensive care, 14% required mechanical ventilation and one woman died from the virus, according to the agency's report.
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Prepregnancy obesity and gestational diabetes were also found in higher prevalence among expectant women hospitalized for COVID-19 illness compared to those admitted for obstretic reasons, like delivery.
Preterm delivery prevalence (15.1% overall and 12.2% among live births) was noted to be “nearly 70% higher than baseline rates in VSD during the study period,” and stillbirth prevalence (3.2%) was “more than four times higher among women with SARS-CoV-2 than the baseline rate in VSD during the study period (0.6%).” VSD refers to data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink surveillance system conducted between March and May 30.
The CDC advised pregnant women to avoid close contact with infected individuals and maintain six feet apart from non-household members, in addition to following general COVID-19 preventative measures like wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene. The agency also advised testing babies born to COVID-19 patients and isolating these moms and their newborns apart from other hospitalized mothers and newborns.
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