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Despite stubbornly high maternal mortality in the United States, pregnancy is still woefully under-researched. But thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, technology that makes it easier to study pregnancy is starting to catch up.

During the public health emergency, federal agencies, health systems, and medical data companies were motivated to open up their records and create privacy-preserving methods to help hospitals share sensitive patient records for research. Those steps have given researchers a near real-time window into Covid-19 outcomes and the efficacy of therapeutics and vaccines — including in pregnant people, who they’ve learned are at greater risk of severe illness.

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