COVID-19 infection during pregnancy heightens risk of preterm birth

August 11, 2021

IN THE NEWS: Expectant mothers with COVID-19 are 40% more likely to deliver their babies prematurely, according to a study co-authored by UCI Health surgeon Dr. Ninh T. Nguyen, UPI reported.

A COVID-19 infection during pregnancy also poses a five times greater risk for intensive care treatment during childbirth, according to the study published by JAMA Network Open.

"For expectant mothers, it is important to take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection," said Nguyen, chair of the UCI School of Medicine's Department of Surgery. "Infection at the time of childbirth is associated with higher risk for ICU admission, preterm birth and even death." 

The finding comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged pregnant women to get vaccinated amid new data showing that the available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and do not increase the risk of miscarriage.

“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “It has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”