The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already existing health crisis among pregnant women, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report highlights the increased risk of severe illness and death for pregnant women with COVID-19, as well as the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color.
The report analyzed data from 22 states and found that between March and December 2020, pregnant women with COVID-19 were more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and put on a ventilator than non-pregnant women with the virus. They were also at a higher risk of death, with a mortality rate of 1.5 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 0.9 deaths per 1,000 live births for non-pregnant women.
The report also highlighted the significant racial and ethnic disparities in the impact of the pandemic on pregnant women. Black and Hispanic pregnant women were more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and more likely to experience severe illness than white pregnant women. They were also more likely to die from COVID-19 than white pregnant women, with a mortality rate of 2.3 and 1.6 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively, compared to 0.9 deaths per 1,000 live births for white pregnant women.
Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be essential workers and have less access to quality healthcare, which may increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and limit their ability to access necessary care. They may also be more likely to have underlying health conditions that increase their risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
The report underscores the urgent need for increased attention to the health of pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for women of color who are disproportionately affected. The CDC recommends that pregnant women take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19, such as getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and practicing physical distancing. Healthcare providers are also encouraged to provide equitable care to pregnant women, particularly those from communities of color.
Overall, the report highlights the critical need for a comprehensive approach to addressing the health crisis among pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes addressing the underlying social and economic factors that contribute to health disparities, as well as improving access to quality healthcare and providing targeted support for pregnant women and their families. By taking these steps, we can help ensure that all pregnant women have the resources and support they need to stay healthy and safe during this challenging time.