A new study has found that pregnant people in hospital with coronavirus are less likely to show symptoms than non-pregnant people of a similar age.
The research, published by The Guardian, also showed that those carrying children may be at an increased risk of needing admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) than non-pregnant women of similar age.
This, it's believed, could be attributed to the fact that a mother's immune system is oftentimes compromised when pregnant to protect the baby and that the lungs and the cardiovascular system – COVID-19's attacking ground – are already under strain during pregnancy.
"When you are pregnant, your body naturally changes your immune system," the HSE's dedicated Coronavirus and Pregnancy page reads.
"This is to help your pregnancy continue successfully. It means that when you are pregnant you may pick up some infections more easily."
Compared with non-pregnant women of reproductive age, pregnant and recently pregnant women with COVID-19 were less likely to report symptoms of fever, the report continued.
About two-thirds of non-pregnant people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 reported symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, whereas a large proportion of COVID-infected pregnant women may not present with symptoms, said study researcher Shakila Thangaratinam, a professor of maternal and perinatal health at the University of Birmingham.
About four per cent of those with COVID-19 appear to require intensive care, she continued.
“The overall risk – the actual risk per se is low – but compared to women of reproductive age who are not pregnant, pregnant women appear to be admitted slightly more to ICUs.
“Although 17% of women delivered before 37 weeks – which is considered a preterm birth – only 6% actually went into labour preterm and delivered, which makes us think that could be other factors at play … such as hospital policies.”
More data is needed to compare these outcomes with outcomes of those who aren't pregnant, the report stressed, adding that researchers will conduct systematic reviews integrating multiple studies to land on a consensus, but this case has seen COVID-19 scientists inundated with so much data that oftentimes it becomes obsolete within months of publication.
For more information on how to deal with COVID-19 while pregnant, check out the HSE's website.