Diabetes has been found to be the single most significant risk factor for death among pregnant women with COVID-19, according to a research letter.

Researchers also claim that age plays an important factor in mortality rates among expectant mothers.

Published on MedRxiv, the study has not yet been reviewed by medical peers which means the findings cannot currently be used to guide clinical practice.

The research team in Mexico wanted to evaluate how COVID-19 impacts pregnant women and their risk of death.

Data was collected from 224 pregnant women who tested positive for coronavirus. Of that total, 25 had severe disease and seven died.

Those who passed away were more likely to be older, indeed those aged 35 and over  were almost eight times more likely to die than young expectant women.

Although a third of all the women had other illnesses, the number of pregnant women with confirmed COVID-19 who died went up to more than 71 per cent.

The health condition linked to the highest risk of death among the pregnant women was diabetes. Other conditions were not significantly associated with a higher risk of death.

The researchers concluded: “In the last decades, low- and middle-income countries have experienced accelerated socio-cultural changes associated with its incorporation into the international economic community, which have increased the number of obese and diabetic population, including pregnant women.

“This has caused an increased risk for complications and fatality among COVID-19 positive population. Thus, policies for reducing obesity and diabetes in low- and middle-income countries are most needed to reduce the mortality of COVID-19 in pregnant women.”

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