Officials are warning about increasing numbers of expectant women becoming infected with Covid-19 and being hospitalized.
Los Angeles County reported 81 cases of coronavirus infections among expectant women for the week that ended July 25, triple the rate from the last full week of June.
And at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, doctors are now seeing a higher proportion of expectant women among their Covid patients, including five who required admission to the intensive care unit, said Dr. Marlon Mills, the director of maternal fetal medicine at Hoag.
Expectant women are at increased risk of having respiratory illness so severe they need to be sedated and require the insertion of a breathing tube in their throat, Mills said. There’s also an increased risk of premature birth and a complication called preeclampsia, which can be caused from a Covid-induced inflammation of the placenta.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends expectant women get vaccinated for Covid.
Expectant women have a far higher risk of serious complications, hospitalization, needing ICU care and dying because of Covid compared with women who are not expectant, Mills said.
Less than one-quarter of expectant women are at least partially vaccinated. More than 11,000 expectant women in the county have tested positive.
“Although rare, women infected during their pregnancy can pass on the virus to their newborn. Among the 10,998 births where there was testing information, 55 infants tested positive for COVID-19. Twelve pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 have tragically passed away,” Los Angeles County public health officials said in a statement Monday.