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This pages serves to highlight the latest objective research, news, and professional guidance and recommendations regarding pregnancy-related health. Unless ongoing, highlights are kept on this page for approximately 30 days before being removed or added to a permanent Topic page.

Recent research updates, health organizational recommendations, and other important highlights related to pregnancy are listed below. Women should talk to their health care provider (HCP) if they have any questions. Full study links are available under "References" at the bottom of the page.

Popular Links: COVID-19 Infection Page; COVID-19 Vaccination Page

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Latest Research/Recommendations

The dates below reflect the date of the publication, not the date of page entry. COVID-19-related studies are listed under the "COVID-19 Infection/Vaccination" section on this page.

June 28, 2022: Study demonstrated that COVID-19 vaccination in the first and third trimesters induced greater immunogenicity when compared with second trimester vaccination. Although total Spike-specific antibody levels were lower in the umbilical cord at delivery following first trimester vaccination, (likely due to waning maternal antibody levels over time), the authors observed the highest transfer of antibodies from mother to umbilical cord following first trimester vaccination. Learn more.

June 27, 2022: Six active population-based birth defects programs provided data on cases of spina bifida for 1992-1996 (pre-fortification) and 1999-2016 (post-fortification). Analysis showed that severity of cases of spina bifida decreased after mandatory folic acid fortification in the United States. Learn more.

June 22, 2022: Analysis determined that medically attended acute adverse events after Covid-19 vaccination immediately preceding or during pregnancy were uncommon. Covid-19 vaccines were not associated with an increased risk of the clinically serious adverse events that were evaluated. "The present data add to the growing literature supporting the safety of Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy."

June 19, 2022: An exploratory analysis was completed of gait biomechanics and muscle activation in pregnant women with high and low scores for low back or pelvic girdle pain during and after pregnancy. The authors found that reduced hip and greater ankle contribution in early pregnancy may contribute to disability as pregnancy progresses.

June 17, 2022: Study found that eggs, and the nutrients contained within eggs (e.g. choline), showed positive associations with fetal neurodevelopment. Learn more about choline during pregnancy.

June 16, 2022: Study found that 3 of 4 pregnant women in the U.S. do not characterize regular cannabis use as a great risk, despite increasing evidence of its potential harms when used during pregnancy. Read Marijuana and pregnancy.

June 13, 2022: COVID-19 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy elicited robust immune responses in mothers and efficient transplacental antibody transfer to the newborn. A booster dose during pregnancy significantly increased maternal and cord blood antibody levels, including against Omicron. Findings support continued use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy, including booster doses. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy.

June 10, 2022: Study found a 2.4-fold increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) 10 years after a diagnosis of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) (high blood pressure, preeclampsia). The known long-term risk of cardiovascular disease after HDP may primarily be a consequence of developing high blood pressure.

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COVID-19 Infection and Vaccination

Infection

View our full page on COVID-19 infection and pregnancy.

General COVID-19 information and pregnancy health: According to currently available case series and cohorts as of July 2022, data indicates pregnant women are not more susceptible to the disease than non-pregnant women, and fetal and symptomatic neonatal infection appear to be rare events.

However, pregnant women who contract COVID-19 appear to be at higher risk of complications from the disease than non-pregnant women of reproductive age. These complications include Intensive Care Unit admission, the need for mechanical ventilation, and the need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Learn more.

Weekly COVID-19 Pregnancy Data from CDC:

  • Total Cases: 219,451

  • Hospitalized: 33,866 (data only available for 175,095)

  • Total Deaths: 296

*As of June 27, 2022

These numbers likely do not include all pregnant women with COVID-19 in the United States and must be interpreted with caution.

Vaccination

View our full page on COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy.

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines in the United States approved or authorized for use: Comirnaty (formerly known as Pfizer-BioNTech), Moderna (SpikeVax in Canada, Europe), and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.

MORE: Read more on COVID-19, pregnancy, and more detailed vaccine information and guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' of Canada, the U.K. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists here.

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash
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Seasonal Allergies

"Rhinitis" (stuffy nose) is the medical term for inflammation and swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose, characterized by a runny nose and stuffiness and usually caused by the common cold or a seasonal allergy.

Allergic rhinitis during pregnancy is the phrase used for nasal congestion from seasonal allergies that occurs during pregnancy. Women with nasal symptoms due to allergies during pregnancy will also have a runny nose, itching, and sneezing.

Nasal congestion caused by allergies can, in general, be made more severe during pregnancy, with potential mental health consequences due to a significant adverse impact to quality of life. Allergies can worse nasal congestion that already occurs as a result of pregnancy. Learn more.

Recent research regarding seasonal allergies and pregnancy:

March 25, 2022: Study demonstrated that pregnant women with allergic rhinitis (nasal congestion due to allergies) showed a significantly lower blood level of vitamin E compared to pregnant women without allergic rhinitis. It is possible that adequate vitamin E may positively impact the development of allergic rhinitis, but more research is necessary. Supplementation outside of deficiency is not recommended during pregnancy until evidence increases regarding its benefits.

November 15, 2021: Allergic rhinitis during pregnancy was independently and significantly associated with an approximately 50% increased risk of postpartum depression among women giving birth.

Action

Women should talk to their HCP if they any questions related to any of the updates or research findings above.

COVID-19: Not all pregnant women who contract COVID-19 (or other respiratory infections) will have serious illness. However, there is currently no way to determine which women may experience a more severe course of infection.

It is recommended that pregnant women:

  • Seek care immediately or dial 911 if experiencing a medical emergency. Emergency symptoms can include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face. This is not an inclusive list, and women should always call their HCP or visit an emergency room when necessary.

  • Report any and all symptoms of a respiratory infection to their HCP, to include cough, fevershortness of breath, and diarrhea

  • Wear a mask in public settings in communities with high transmission

  • Regularly wash hands for at least 20 seconds (if soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol)

  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Do not skip prenatal care appointments or other health appointments that may be necessary

  • Make sure to have at least a 30-day supply of prescription medications

  • Learn about stress and coping

  • Get adequate sleep and physical exercise

  • Quit smoking (risk factor for infection)

Any pregnant woman who has traveled in a state or country with a high rate of COVID-19 infection or who has had close contact with an individual with confirmed infection should be tested and quarantined.

Pregnant women are also advised to see their HCP immediately or call 911 if they experience:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse

  • Seizures

  • Not urinating

  • Severe muscle pain and/or weakness

  • Fever or cough that improves but then returns or worsens (may indicate pneumonia)

  • High fever that is not responding to acetaminophen or other anti-fever medication (acetaminophen is not an NSAID)

Women should refer to the CDC and ACOG COVID-19 web pages below for additional information.

Resources

Total cases in the United States/COVID tracker (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

COVID-19 Home Page (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

ACOG Statement on COVID-19 and Pregnancy (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; June 2020)

Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

The Management of Respiratory Infections During Pregnancy (Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America; 2006)

References

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