During the 1918 pandemic, pregnant women were at particularly high risk. Statistics reported monthly from Buffalo, New York, show the extent of the tragedy. At the height of the pandemic in October 1918, premature births more than doubled, reaching 57 a month; stillbirths rose to 76, an 81% jump. In Massachusetts, the number of women who died during or right after childbirth more than tripled to 185. In a study in Maryland, half of all pregnant women who developed pneumonia died.

They were part of a particularly hard-hit demographic: This flu disproportionately affected healthy women and men in the prime of their lives, 20-40 years old. It also killed many children under five years of age.

This is not the case with COVID-19. While expectant mothers are at greater risk from infectious disease outbreaks and should take extra precautions, there is scant evidence that COVID-19 infection impacts childbirth, the growing fetus, babies or young children in the same way that the influenza pandemic did. COVID-19 is also far less deadly for young adults.

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