The COVID-19 pandemic has added a new and hard-to-answer concern for pregnant women: Does COVID-19 pose greater risks for the mother during pregnancy?
Kavita Narang, M.D., a fellow in the Mayo Clinic Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, recently co-authored a review in Mayo Clinic Proceedings on COVID-19 and pregnancy. The review of research to date concludes that pregnant women may be at greater risk for COVID-19 infection.
“The severity of the disease is highly variable, and pregnant women with underlying comorbidities or medical health conditions are at higher risk of worse outcomes,” says Dr. Narang.
According to Dr. Narang, most of the knowledge on respiratory viral infections that occur during pregnancy comes from data on influenza, SARS and MERS pandemics. Pregnancy could represent a vulnerable condition that increases the risk of infection and complications such as preterm delivery. This has been true in past pandemics, and Mayo Clinic researchers are exploring how the SARS-CoV-2 virus may or may not be different.
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