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COVID-19 has prolonged effect on many during pregnancy

Pregnancy is also believed to be a risk factor for severe COVID-19. Preliminary findings from a National Institutes of Health study also suggested pregnant women who experienced severe symptoms of COVID-19 may be at higher risk for cesarean delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and preterm birth.

According to a new study, symptoms for pregnant women with COVID-19 can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer. Read on to know more.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : October 9, 2020 9:10 AM IST

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have been trying to answer the question of how this infection affects pregnant women. Some studies have shown that, at present, there is no evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 than the general population. However, they caution that since pregnancy suppresses a woman's immune system to a great extent, they may face more severe respiratory complications if they get infected with this viral disease. They usually have higher risk of respiratory infections like the common cold or the flu. Pregnant women also suffer from some common problems like morning sickness and breathlessness.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco in the US have found that symptoms for pregnant women with COVID-19 can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer. In the study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the research team analysed the clinical course and outcomes of 594 women who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during pregnancy. They found that the most common early symptoms for pregnant women were cough, sore throat, body ache and fever. Half of the participants still had symptoms after three weeks and 25 per cent had symptoms after eight weeks. According to the researchers, pregnant people with COVID-19 can expect a prolonged time with symptoms.

COVID symptoms overlap with pregnancy symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms during pregnancy can last a long time, and have a significant impact on health and wellbeing. While previous research on the SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy has primarily centred on hospitalized patients, the new analysis focused on ambulatory patients, who represent the overwhelming majority of adults with the virus. Study participants tested positive between March 22 and July 10 and had a mean age of 31 years. The average gestational age at the time of enrolment in the study was approximately 24 weeks. The researchers found several common symptoms of COVID-19, but also that symptoms related to the virus were complicated by overlapping symptoms of normal pregnancy, including nausea, fatigue and congestion.

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6 per cent displayed loss of sense of smell

Their findings also showed that primary first symptoms were cough (20 per cent), sore throat (16 per cent), body ache (12 per cent), and fever (12 per cent); by comparison, fever occurs in 43 per cent of non-pregnant hospitalised patients. According to the study, loss of taste or smell was the first symptom in six per cent of pregnant women, other symptoms included shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, or dizziness. The median time for symptoms to resolve was 37 days, the research has found.

Symptoms subside after about 37 days

The majority of participants in the study population had mild disease and were not hospitalised. Even so, it took a median of 37 days for symptoms to ease. Researchers are hopeful that the results of this study can help pregnant people and their clinicians better understand what to expect with COVID-19 infection.

(With inputs from IANS)

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