Pregnancy and infection with COVID-19 both increased risks of admission to the ICU, the requirement for oxygen, as well as death in women of sub-Saharan Africa who were hospitalized, according to a new study.

In six African nations (Democratic Republic Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa), Pittsburgh University researchers evaluated the outcomes of 1,315 hospitalized women of reproductive age from 1st March, 2020, to March 31, 2021. Pregnant COVID-19 women made up half of the cohort, along with infected non-pregnant women who made up the other half.

Infected pregnant and non-pregnant women with a history of HIV or tuberculosis were twice as likely to be admitted to the ICU as those without these conditions.

A study by study leader Jean Nachega found that pregnant women in Saharan Africa who were hospitalized with COVID-19 were at five times more risk of dying or requiring critical care than similar women who were not.

Vaccine hesitancy motivated by misinformation happens to be yet another obstacle to averting COVID-19 for pregnant women and their newborns, according to the authors. For pregnant women and their families, “it is vital to undertake established educational and counseling interventions that will address misunderstanding and disinformation in order to reassure them about demonstrated safety or effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccinations,” the authors said in a press release.

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