How Will COVID-19 Affect Pregnant Women? Local Researchers Forecast Impact

Local researchers are trying to learn more about how COVID-19 affects pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Local researchers are trying to learn more about how COVID-19 affects pregnancy, labor and delivery. [Africa Studio / Shutterstock]
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So far, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to hit pregnant women any worse than anyone else, unlike with previous coronaviruses like SARS. Local researchers are trying to fill in the gaps when it comes to our knowledge of how COVID-19 infections affect pregnant women.

“We don’t have quite enough data on how [the coronavirus] will affect pregnancy,” said Dr. Manesha Putra, an obstetrician at University Hospitals.

Putra said pregnant women are a group worth studying more, since they have a lowered immune response and are in the hospital around other sick people.

He led a recent study that forecasts the impact of the virus on maternal health.

Researchers used an advanced modeling method to predict that about 16,000 pregnant women in the U.S. will have COVID-19 infections during labor and delivery, with 3,000 expected to have severe cases. It also projects about 52 COVID-19 related maternal deaths through the end of 2020. 

Putra says this information is really for doctors and policymakers involved in making resource decisions.

“As of now, we do not have evidence that pregnant women are more severely infected with coronavirus, so that’s some good news in general,” Putra said.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Georgia State University also contributed to the study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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