Based on what we know at this time, pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women.i A recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) study found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), receive invasive ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO - a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung and back into the bloodstream of a very ill person), and are at increased risk of death compared to nonpregnant women.ii Information suggests that pregnant women with comorbidities (more than one disease or condition) such as obesity are at increased risk for severe illness as is the general population with similar comorbidities.iii Additionally, studies are finding that other factors, such as age and occupation, can further increase a pregnant person’s risk for developing severe illness.iv However, as pregnancy itself has now been identified as a risk factor for certain outcomes, more research is needed to determine the magnitude of this increased risk.ii It is therefore important for pregnant women to take extra precautions to protect themselves from illness and talk with their provider about any concerns they may have.
Updated: November 18, 2020
i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Caring for Newborns; updated November 3, 2020; retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html
ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); Pregnancy Data; updated November 13, 2020; retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/special-populations/pregnancy-data-on-covid-19.html
iii The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Clinical Guidance; Practice Advisory; Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19); updated July 1, 2020 with summary of key updates made November 6, 2020retrieved from https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/03/novel-coronavirus-2019