What is it about?

Since the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, several studies have been conducted to examine associated factors. However, few studies have focused on pregnant women infected with COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. Literature is increasingly showing that pregnant women are highly susceptible to COVID-19 infection and suffer worse outcomes in comparison with other pregnant women not infected with COVID-19. Therefore, we set out to understand the magnitude of this problem and which pregnant women were likely to contract COVID-19. This study was conducted at the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital and Women and Newborn Hospital of the University Teaching Hospitals in Lusaka, Zambia About two out of every 10 pregnant women seeking care at these two facilities tested positive for COVID-19. Some had symptoms while other had none. Factors associated with contracting COVID-19 were increased gestational age, low education status and maternal self reported HIV positive serostatus. To mitigate infection and adverse maternal outcomes, there is a need to educate women of reproductive age on this increased risk so that they take adequate precautions to protect themselves and their unborn children. On the other hand, healthcare providers should pay particular attention to this group during outbreaks.

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Why is it important?

This is one of the few studies in Africa focusing on the risk of COVID-19 among pregnant women. We highlight the type of pregnant women to especially look out for during COVID-19 outbreaks i) those with low education and ii) women living with HIV, especially in SSA where there is a high burden of HIV.


Conducting this research was very exciting with a lot of uncertainties at the same time. COVID-19 was new and we did not really know what we would find. There was a lot of anxiety globally about this "novel" disease-no one really expected it or quickly figured out how to deal with it. So going in to find what the disease looked like among pregnant women was a great step for me to contribute to the body of evolving knowledge. I feel so accomplished. Enjoy reading.

Mwansa Ketty Lubeya
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, The University of Zambia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Maternal COVID-19 infection and associated factors: A cross-sectional study, PLoS ONE, March 2023, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281435.
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