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CDC: Pregnant women face more complications if they contract COVID-19

Doctors say pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized and have respiratory complications. The CDC said it can also cause premature births.

TAMPA, Fla. — For moms-to-be, pregnancy can be an exciting time, but new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows expecting mothers are more likely to face complications if they contract COVID-19.

"The ways that pregnant women seem to be more affected is they're more likely to require hospitalization, they're more likely to have an impact on their oxygen percentage and they're more likely to have the respiratory complications that come with this virus,” said Dr. Stephanie Ros of the University of South Florida.

Ros said about 31 percent of pregnant women who contracted the virus were hospitalized, compared to about 6 percent of non-pregnant women of the same age and health.

"There is quite a leap in women needing hospitalization, needing more advanced care,” she said.

There's also concern about the baby's health. Researchers say there's been an increase in stillbirths in London that may be indirectly tied to the pandemic. Doctors say we're not seeing that trend in the U.S., but the CDC said the virus could cause premature births.

There's also evidence the virus disproportionately impacts pregnant women of minority backgrounds.

"Hispanic women, and non-Hispanic Black women have a disproportionate amount of complications related to infection with this virus, so among the things that we're trying to figure out is why did those populations of women seem to have more complications than the white patients that we are seeing?" Ros said.

While pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, CDC research does not show higher rates of death.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine is pushing for more research on how COVID-19 is impacting pregnant women, as doctors say expecting mothers are often excluded from trials related to the virus.

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