NHLBI IN THE PRESS

COVID-19 ups the risk of complications during childbirth

Pregnant woman watching her baby on the ultrasound

Women who have COVID-19 during childbirth are more likely to face complications than women without COVID-19. While the absolute risk for complications is very low, the relative risks for problems like clotting and early labor are significant, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Using a database that captured nearly 20 percent of all hospitalization in the U.S., the researchers analyzed data on more than 400,000 pregnant women, nearly 6,400 of whom were infected with COVID-19. Among those infected, the researchers found the relative risk of developing any type of blood clot was nearly five times higher than those without the virus. The risk for blood clots in the veins quadrupled for women with COVID-19 during childbirth. These women, the researchers found, were also more likely to need intensive care or a ventilator. Young age, diabetes and obesity, the researchers found, were also risk factors. The study was funded by NHLBI.