Pregnant women appear to be at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection, researchers reported.
The study, which was published Tuesday, shows the Covid-19 infection rate among pregnant women in Washington state was 70% higher than in similarly aged adults in the state. It also found that rates of infection among pregnant women of color were two to four times higher than expected.
"Pregnant women were not protected from COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic, with the greatest burden of infections occurring in nearly all racial/ethnic minority groups," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
For the study, the research team gathered data from 240 pregnant Covid-19 patients in 35 hospitals and clinics, which account for 61% of the state's annual births, from March through June 2020.
"Our data indicates that pregnant people did not avoid the pandemic as we hoped that they would, and communities of color bore the greatest burden," said Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an ob-gyn with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the report's senior author.
According to the study, the Covid-19 infection rate in pregnant women in the state of Washington was 13.9 out of every 1,000 deliveries, compared to an overall rate for 20- to 39-year-olds in the state of 7.3 out of 1,000.
"Higher infection rates in pregnant patients may be due to the overrepresentation of women in many professions and industries considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic — including healthcare, education, service sectors," lead author Dr. Erica Lokken said in a news release.
The researchers suggest that pregnant people should be broadly prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination.
"Pregnant women are written out of the allocation prioritization in about half of U.S. States. Many states are not even linking their COVID-19 vaccine allocation plans with the high-risk medical conditions listed by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] —which include pregnancy," Waldorf said.