‘45% of women with COVID-19 had high levels of obesity’

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A study by the University of Washington has found that 45% of pregnant women with COVID-19 had high levels of obesity.

The study was conducted on 240 pregnant women in various clinics and hospitals in Washington and presented at the virtual 51st Union Conference on Lung Health, which ends on Saturday.

Professor Kristina Adams Waldorf from the University of Washington says they are concerned because obesity has been identified as a significant risk factor for more severe disease in pregnant women who develop influenza.

“We found a prevalence of 45% in the 240 patients compared to an overall prevalence in Washington State of 28%. In our study, 70% of our patients were symptomatic. In conclusion, we are concerned that obesity represents a significant risk factor for enhanced disease in pregnant patients with COVID-19.”

Pregnant women and COVID-19

In March, Professor of Vaccinology at the Wits University Shabir Madhi said there was not enough evidence to suggest that pregnant women were more prone to contracting COVID-19.

Madhi says chances of infection are the same for everyone whether you are pregnant, are a child or an adult.

He says the important question is whether pregnant women who become infected are more likely to end up developing severe disease from coronavirus or not.

“If you are living with an individual who is infected with coronavirus, your risk of being infected is 68%. If you are in an area where coronavirus is circulating in the community your risk of being infected is roughly at about 1%. Right now there isn’t any evidence to indicate that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe disease from the coronavirus but with that being said there is concern that the number of pregnant women that have been infected is not high enough to make firm conclusions on that front,” he says.

Madhi is encouraging pregnant women to get the normal flu vaccine to protect themselves from getting influenza during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pregnancy during COVID-19 pandemic: