Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an ob-gyn with the University of Washington School of Medicine and senior author of the report (Photo Credit: University of Washington School of Medicine)

Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an ob-gyn with the University of Washington School of Medicine and senior author of the report (Photo Credit: University of Washington School of Medicine)

UW study shows high COVID infection rates among pregnant women

Study shows infection rates to be two to four times higher than expected among minority groups.

A recently published study led by University of Washington researchers indicated that COVID-19 infection rates were relatively high among pregnant women.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, estimated that COVID-19 infection rates are 70 percent higher among pregnant women than what was recorded among similar aged adults in Washington state.

“Higher infection rates in pregnant patients may be due to the over-representation of women in many professions and industries considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic — including healthcare, education, service sectors,” said Erica Lokken, an epidemiologist at the UW School of Public Health. She added that pregnant women may also have larger households, children in daycare or playgroups, and be caregivers within an extended family.

The study also showed that rates of COVID-19 infection among pregnant women of color were disproportionately high as they recorded infection rates among pregnant minority groups that were two to three times higher than what was expected based on state race-ethnicity distributions from 2018.

“Our data indicates that pregnant people did not avoid the pandemic as we hoped that they would, and communities of color bore the greatest burden,” said Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an OB-GYN with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the report’s senior author. “We were disheartened to see the higher infection rates in communities of color as well as in patients with limited English proficiency.”

According to the study, a high number of pregnant women infected with COVID-19 chose to receive their medical care in a language other than English. Adams Waldorf said that indicates a greater need for public health resources and vaccination outreach in these communities.

Adams Waldorf said that higher rates of infection among pregnant women coupled with elevated risk for severe illness and maternal mortality due to COVID-19 suggest that pregnant women should be prioritized to receive the vaccine.

“Many states have written pregnant women out of vaccine prioritization altogether,” she said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson &… Continue reading

File Photo
High court ruling spurs effort to retool state’s drug laws

Meanwhile, the Blake decision has gotten people out jail, charges dismissed and possibly clemency for some.

The Monroe Correctional Complex on April 9, 2020. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Formerly incarcerated people regain right to vote in Washington

Rights restored immediately upon release.

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Salmon update: King County wants cleaner water, more habitat

Salmon and orcas are in the spotlight once again as King County… Continue reading

Guns seized during April 7 arrests (photo credit: Dept. of Justice)
More than 20 arrested across the Puget Sound in drug distribution conspiracy

DOJ says law enforcement agencies seized over 70 guns and hundreds of thousands in cash.

T
Sheriff’s office wants help identifying Green River killer victim

Staff reports In 2003, Gary Ridgway, Washington’s notorious Green River killer, pleaded… Continue reading

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. File photo
King County needs more lawyers to attack backlog of cases

6,107 open cases is double the normal amount for King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Public Health – Seattle & King County staff administering COVID-19 vaccine to a local emergency responder. COURTESY PHOTO, Public Health-Seattle & King County
Starting April 15, everyone 16 and older is eligible for a vaccine

Gov. Inslee said an expected increase in vaccine supply enables the state to open eligibility.

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Phase Finder for vaccine eligibility to be eliminated March 31

Eligibility verification via Phase Finder no longer required for appointments, vaccinations beginning this week.

Courtesy photo
Issaquah School District settles negligence lawsuit for $4.25 million

The lawsuit alleged the district covered for a now-convicted child molester while he was a teacher.