A new study suggests that asymptomatic coronavirus infections among pregnant women may be less common than previously feared – at least outside of New York City.
An earlier report found that more than 13% of admitted pregnant patients at two New York City hospitals had asymptomatic infections, which made the case for universal testing of women before childbirth.
The new study, though, looked at more than 750 pregnant women who were admitted to hospitals in southern Connecticut without symptoms in April. 22 of those women tested positive for the virus.
“These findings suggest a low (< 3%) prevalence of positive [novel coronavirus] test results among asymptomatic patients in a pregnant population outside of the highly endemic region of New York City,” wrote Dr. Katherine Campbell and colleagues at Yale New Haven Health.
The findings were published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA, but the researchers noted that they looked at just three hospitals in southern Connecticut, meaning that other cities and states could have different experiences.
“Although performed in mixed community and academic hospital settings, limitations of the findings include a short duration and a single geographic region,” they wrote.
The researchers didn’t say pregnant women shouldn’t be tested for coronavirus, but they wrote: “Approaches to care that balance screening and testing of patients combined with a rationalized approach to use of PPE should be considered for obstetric units.”