Records of 158 pregnant women who were treated at government medical college, Kannur, from April 2020 till September 2020 were evaluated. Their symptoms at presentation and the outcome of the pregnancies was noted too. While 96% women were less than 35 years, 4% were either 35 or more.
It was found that about 68% pregnant women were without any symptoms. These women were diagnosed to be positive chiefly due to history of contact with positive family members or due to history of travel from high risk areas.
Nearly 43% came to the hospital with just one symptom of Covid infection, with 15% presenting with fever, 11% with cough, 8% presented with headache and 6 % presented with sore throat alone. Another 3% presented with breathlessness. About 0.63% presented with anosmia, loss of taste, severe acute respiratory infection, vomiting, sore throat and breathlessness.
With little data is available nationally on Covid positive pregnancies, this study is a key in understanding of Covid risk amongst pregnant women, who are in a state of relative immunosuppression. In contrast, available data on SARS and MERS show that pregnant women are at a higher risk of severe infection requiring intensive care.
“Global trends are similar to what we have witnessed here. Data from 77 studies involving 11,432 pregnant women from14 countries published in British Medical journal (BMJ) shows that pregnant women with Covid infection are less likely to have major symptoms than nonpregnant women of similar age. But we don’t know the exact reason for this,” said Dr Ajith S, head, gynaecology department, Government medical college, Kannur, who is part of the study.
Of these 158 women, 16% were more than 34 weeks of gestation, with 54 patients delivering at the hospital, with 7 having normal delivery and 47 caesareans. Remaining patients were discharged after they tested negative for Covid. There were three miscarriages.
“What is protecting pregnant women from severe risk of Covid is something that has really perplexed us. Indepth research needs to be done to look into this,” said Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India vice-president elect Dr Fessy Louis.
“In our study, a large proportion of pregnant patients presented without symptoms. This needs to be evaluated so that it may provide us with clues on how to deal with disease in the general population too,” added Dr Ajith.