1 in 10 People Who Had Covid While Pregnant Will Develop Long Covid

A new study aims to help doctors spot signs of long Covid sooner in moms, ensuring timely support postpartum.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated February 20, 2024
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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it plenty of challenges for pregnant women. From increased stress to lonely labor and delivery rooms, even as infection rates drop and hospitals open up to visitors, the effects of Covid linger, especially among mothers.

A new study using data from the National Institutes of Health’s Recover Initiative—a project created to determine the long-term effects of Covid in adults and children—has found that 1 in 10 people who had Covid while pregnant developed long Covid.

Of the 1,503 people who were pregnant in the dataset, 9.3% reported having symptoms six months or more after they were infected. The most common symptom was a feeling of being tired after light physical or mental activity. Some also reported dizziness.

Research showed that rates showed no statistical difference regardless of what trimester Covid was contracted in or the person’s vaccination status. However, the data showed similarities among those who did develop long Covid. Those who had obesity, who had a diagnosis of chronic anxiety or depression or who required supplemental oxygen when they were sick had a higher risk of long Covid.

While the incidence of long Covid among pregnant women isn’t significantly higher than in the general population, the overlap of long Covid symptoms with typical postpartum fatigue and weakness can complicate identifying and addressing mothers’ needs, particularly if doctors are unaware of the potential indicators.

Researchers hope that this study will offer valuable insights for healthcare providers, enabling them to identify and support pregnant women who may be at a higher risk of experiencing long Covid during their postpartum period.

If you are navigating pregnancy with Covid, check out these resources to help along your pregnancy and parenting journey.

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