Any long-term effects of COVID-19, which originated in China and became the third coronavirus pandemic of the century, in the general adult population remain unclear. Some clearly have it while others are told it as an undefined blanket term, like fibromyalgia or chronic lyme disease.

A new paper claims that up to 10 percent of women who get COVID-19 during pregnancy will get a 'Long COVID' diagnosis. Their data are individuals from 46 states plus Washington, D.C. enrolled in the NIH RECOVER Initiative who got COVID-19 while pregnant and later got a Long COVID diagnosis.  

Of the 1,503 people in the pregnancy cohort, 51 percent were vaccinated (both shots, weeks apart) before contracting COVID-19; and the average age at infection was about 32 years old. The authors looked at a person’s pre-existing conditions, socioeconomic status, and severity of COVID during pregnancy.

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They found that 9.3 percent of pregnant women were diagnosed with Long COVID when evaluated six months or more after their initial infection. The most common symptoms people reported included feeling worn out after even minor physical or mental activity, also known as post-exertional malaise, fatigue, and dizziness.

Researchers also found that pregnant people who were obese or suffered from depression or chronic anxiety as well as those who reported having difficulty paying their bills were given a Long COVID diagnosis. People who had a more severe case of COVID-19 and required oxygen while pregnant were more likely to be diagnosed with Long COVID.

The good news in the larger NIH RECOVER-Adult cohort findings was that diagnoses of Long COVID appeared to be lower in pregnant people than in non-pregnant adults. That is a welcome finding. New mothers are likely to be exhausted and stressed, which may explain the fatigue and other things that may get termed Long COVID - they don't need more on their parental plate.