A meta-analysis published in the journal BMC Infectious diseases has found a higher risk of influenza-associated hospitalisation among pregnant women as compared with non-pregnant women.
Researchers identified a total of 33 studies with data on 186,656 individuals, including 36,498 women of reproductive age and known pregnancy status after a search on MEDLINE, CINAHL, Global Health and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases.
Data analysis revealed that the risk for influenza-associated hospital admission was seven times higher in pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 6.80; 95% CI, 6.02-7.68). The risk increased per five-year increase in age and any cardio-respiratory diseases (aOR 1.12; 95% CI, 1.09-1.15 and aOR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.91-2.73, respectively).
Pregnancy was associated with a decreased risk of intensive care unit admission (OR 0.57; 95% CI, 0.48-0.69). No significant association was observed between pregnancy and influenza-associated mortality.
The authors said the study could not address whether a true community-based cohort of pregnant women is at a higher risk of influenza-associated complications.
“One explanation for our findings is that pregnant women may be more likely to seek care and be preferentially admitted to a hospital because of concerns that they are at higher risk for complications,” they wrote.