Published on July 07, 2020

Report: Pregnant women may get sicker from COVID-19

By Renee Beasley Jones, Messenger-Inquirer

A federal report shows pregnant women may be at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 as compared to other women their age who are not pregnant.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researched coronavirus data from January to June.

“During pregnancy, women experience immunologic and physiologic changes that could increase their risk for more severe illness from respiratory infections,” the CDC report said.

The study showed pregnant women are at more than five times the risk of being hospitalized when they contract COVID-19, said Dr. Andrea Moore, who practices at the Women’s Pavilion and is Owensboro Health Regional Hospital chief of staff.

In addition, pregnant women are at higher risk for ICU admissions and needing ventilators, Moore said.

“We encourage them to do everything they can to prevent an infection,” she said.

Pregnant women should stay at home as much as possible, Moore said. They should wash their hands frequently and wear face masks when they visit public places.

At the Women’s Pavilion, practitioners have seen a few pregnant patients with COVID-19, Moore said. However, none of them has been gravely ill.

If a patient has a scheduled delivery, she is tested for the virus before entering the hospital. All admissions to OHRH’s labor unit are tested on admission.

The hospital’s labor and delivery unit has negative pressure rooms for patients who test positive or for those under investigation for having COVID-19, Moore said. Also, the unit has an operating room for patients who may test positive.

The unit has had patients with the coronavirus, she said.

As of June 7, more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in pregnant women. Moore said health officials across the nation are seeing an increase in the number of pregnant women who are being diagnosed with the virus.

It’s important for family and friends to be mindful of the increased risks for pregnant women, Moore said. Friends should not host in-person baby showers and should keep their distance once babies are born and come home.

People generally think of protecting the elderly from COVID-19, Moore said.

“But we’re talking about women 15 to 44 being seriously impacted.”

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.