Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Christopher M. Zahn, MD, FACOG, vice president of practice activities for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
“New information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that pregnant patients may be at increased risk for certain manifestations of severe illness due to COVID-19, such as intensive care unit admission and mechanical ventilation. Importantly, the available data also suggest that the overall risk of these clinical interventions remains low, and that pregnant patients do not appear to be at increased risk of death associated with COVID-19 compared with nonpregnant patients in the same age group.
“During this public health crisis, it is critical that medical care be informed by evidence and data. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation, and as new research and data become available, clinical care recommendations should be refined to reflect the most current information.
“The new data released today suggest a different level of risk for pregnant patients than was previously indicated by earlier data. In keeping with our evidence-based approach, ACOG is reviewing all of our clinical materials and patient resources related to COVID-19 in light of newly available information and will make any necessary revisions to recommendations.
“We understand that pregnant individuals are experiencing increased concern due to COVID-19, and we appreciate that these are unsettling times. While the data are being reviewed and modifications to clinical guidance considered, ACOG members and other clinicians providing care to patients who are pregnant or seeking to become pregnant should:
- Counsel patients about the potential increased risk of severe illness requiring intensive care unit admission and mechanical ventilation associated with COVID-19 infection during pregnancy
- Emphasize the importance of taking precautions to prevent infection when counseling pregnant patients and their families, with particular attention to advocating for protection measures for individuals with increased risk of exposure and infection due to occupation
“As the pandemic continues, ACOG urges its members to encourage pregnant patients who test positive for COVID-19 to consider enrolling in an appropriate COVID-19 registry, such as the COVID-19 PRIORITY Registry, to help the medical community better understand the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy outcomes.
“In light of this new information from the CDC regarding the risk to pregnant patients, it is even more concerning that pregnant and lactating patients have been excluded from clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine. The new information from the CDC highlights the importance of pregnant patients being prioritized for a coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available. ACOG again urges the federal government to use its resources to ensure the safe inclusion of pregnant and lactating patients, including patients of color, in trials for vaccines and therapeutics to ensure that all populations are included in the search for ways to prevent and treat COVID-19.”