Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Doctors are learning more about how COVID-19 affects pregnant women

Charles Krupa
The Associated Press (file)

Doctors are learning more about how COVID-19 affects pregnant women. According to new data collected by physicians across Washington state, women who are pregnant — especially in their last trimester — need to be very careful about contracting the virus.

The study reveals that patients with certain pre-existing conditions appear to be more vulnerable from the seventh month of pregnancy and beyond.

“The data suggests that women that were overweight or obese prior to pregnancy might have a higher risk of a sever COVID-19 pneumonia," said Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf with the University of Washington School of Medicine. "We’re also worried about women who might have high blood pressure or diabetes in pregnancy.” 

The study looked at the outcomes of 46 pregnant mothers who contracted COVID-19. Six of the patients were hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms and one was admitted to the intensive care unit. Eight women delivered babies during the study period. It’s unclear if the virus contributed to one preterm birth and one stillbirth.

“We want to determine the risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy and which subgroups of pregnant women might be at greatest risk," Adams said. "The next step is to translate this information into public health action so that we can provide information to high-risk pregnant women in communities with higher rates of transmission."

This is the first study published by the Washington State COVID-19 in Pregnancy Collaborative, a group of obstetricians across hospital systems. Researchers say they want to know if having COVID-19 while pregnant has any long-term effects on the children.

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.