Pregnant women with coronavirus may be at greater risk for premature births: CDC

A new study shows that having coronavirus while pregnant could lead to premature births or stillbirths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study published on Wednesday showed that of 600 pregnant women with COVID-19, 12,6% of births were preterm deliveries (before 37 weeks pregnant). The rate in 2018 was 10%, Today reports.

Only about half of the women in the study were showing symptoms of coronavirus with their positive tests. Of the symptomatic patients, 23.1% experienced preterm deliveries while 8% of asymptomatic patients experienced the same.

That said. Dr. Diana Bianchi, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, says there is still a lot to learn about the effects of coronavirus on pregnant women.

"It's a little bit hard to know what's going on with the stillbirths and the preterm deliveries," she told Today. "We know that with other infections like SARS and MERS, there was a higher incidence of stillbirths and preterm deliveries, so it's something we very much need to be concerned about."

In June, the CDC released data that suggested that pregnant women who contracted coronavirus may experience more severe symptoms than nonpregnant people. They are also more likely to require hospitalization and ventilation.

Still, doctors have more work to do on figuring out how the coronavirus affects mothers and babies during pregnancy.

Dr. Christopher Zahn, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' vice president of Practice Activities, said in a statement to Today, "Right now, pregnant women and their families should know that pregnant patients do not appear to be at increased risk of death associated with COVID-19 compared with nonpregnant patients in the same age group."

He continued, "It is critical that pregnant women and their families continue to take precautions to prevent infection — including hand washing, socially distancing, and wearing a mask — particularly those with increased risk of exposure due to occupation or underlying conditions, and get tested immediately if infection is suspected."

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