88% pregnant women with Covid-19 are asymptomatic in Maharashtra: Study
A new study has found that most Covid-positive pregnant women are asymptomatic. Despite the absence of symptoms, Covid-19 can cause health complications during pregnancies and delivery, said gynaecologists.Updated: Sep 25, 2020, 09:32 IST
A study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (ICMR-NIRRH), in association with Medical Education and Drugs Department (MEDD) and BYL Nair Hospital has found that most Covid-positive pregnant women are asymptomatic. Despite the absence of symptoms, Covid-19 can cause health complications during pregnancies and delivery, said gynaecologists.
The study analysed data collected between April 25 and May 20 by PregCOVID (https://pregcovid.com/), a registry started by ICMR-NIRRH in collaboration with MEDD and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). PregCOVID has data from 18 government medical colleges across rural and urban Maharashtra and the civic-run BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai.
For the study, data from 1,140 pregnant women was analysed and 321 tested positive for Covid-19. However, only 37 (11.5%) exhibited symptoms when they were admitted to hospitals for delivery. The prevalence of the virus in women varied (0-40%) across different hospitals. “Our results estimate the presence of one symptomatic to every nine asymptomatic pregnant women,” reads the study, which was published on September 23 in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.
“Detection of asymptomatic women will protect them and their new-borns [as well as] healthcare workers, and curb spread of the infection in the community. The significance of detecting asymptomatic pregnant women is useful for ensuring safe obstetric and neonatal services and assessing the burden of Covid-19 in the region,” said Dr Rahul Gajbhiye of ICMR-NIRRH.
Doctors have observed that Covid-19 can lead to health complications in pregnant women. “During pregnancy, the immunity level goes down among women, which makes them more susceptible to the infection. So, women with comorbid health issues develop complications,” said Dr Ashok Anand, head of obstetrics and gynaecology, Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Mumbai. The hospital has treated over 600 Covid-positive pregnant women since March.
There is also a greater risk of complications during a caesarean section for Covid-positive mothers. “The infection leads to blood clotting in infected mothers and postpartum bleeding or postpartum hemorrhage (PPH)” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Nair Hospital, adding that more studies are necessary to verify these observations.
PregCovid is open for all public and private Covid-19 hospitals in India that provide care to Covid-positive pregnant women. To be part of the registry, see https://pregcovid.com/for-covid19-hospitals/.