Study finds pregnant women less likely to show symptoms of COVID-19

on 03 September 2020

An international study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Birmingham suggests that pregnant women are unlikely to show symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), but could be at risk of intensive care admission.

The systematic review analysed the outcomes of 11,432 pregnancies and pregnant women from the USA, Europe, Central and South East Asia, and South America.

As well as testing positive for COVID-19 and showing little symptoms, the results also found that a quarter of babies born to mothers with the virus we admitted to neonatal units, but stillbirth and new born fatality rates were low.

Researchers also identified a range of maternal risk factors associated with COVID-19 such as hypertension, being older, overweight or having pre-existing conditions.

These pregnant women were more likely to be admitted to intensive care or need ventilation.

Lead Author for the study, Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, said: “Our study has demonstrated a need for increased awareness for health care professionals around the symptoms and effects of COVID-19 on pregnant and recently pregnant women, and early identification of pregnant women with risk factors. We shall be updating our findings on a regular basis as new evidence emerge.”

The study ‘Clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy: living systematic review and meta-analysis’ was published in the BMJ and can be found here.