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COVID-19 Worsens Pregnancy Complications and Other Problems; Babies are Also at Risk

According to two new studies, pregnant women who develop COVID-19 symptoms are more likely to have emergency complications and other problems with their pregnancies. Their children are also at risk as a result of the disease.

A pregnant woman received a coronavirus vaccine last February at a pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania.

A pregnant woman received a coronavirus vaccine last February at a pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania.
(Photo: Hannah Beier/Reuters)

The New Study

The first study found that pregnant women who tested positive for Covid-19 but did not have symptoms had a higher percentage of emergency complications. The research was presented at the Anesthesiology 2021 Annual Meeting over the weekend.

The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found that of the 100 Covid-positive mothers who delivered babies between March and September of last year at one hospital in Texas, 58 percent of those with symptomatic infections delivered in an emergency situation, 46 percent of those with an asymptomatic case did.

The mothers who had symptoms were more likely to have emergency complications that put the baby in danger. More babies were born breech, a fetal movement was reduced, and some had insufficient amniotic fluid.

The study also discovered that babies born to symptomatic mothers were much more likely to require oxygen support and be admitted to the intensive care unit. Furthermore, babies born to these symptomatic mothers were much more likely to require oxygen support and be admitted to the intensive care unit.

According to Kristine Lane, a medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, who helped lead the study, COVID-19 has severe systemic effects on the body, particularly in symptomatic patients. These effects may be amplified in pregnant mothers, who have increased fetal and maternal oxygen demands.

There’s also a chance that the doctors caring for the symptomatic patients were being cautious due to the virus and proactively recommended a cesarean delivery, she said.

“Inflammation is extremely dangerous for both the mother and the development of the fetus. A chronic inflammation is now a fight for the survival of the mother and the fetus, and in every fight, they pay they pay a price,”

Said Dr. Gil Mor, a reproductive immunologist at Wayne State University who leads a research lab that studies the immune system during pregnancy and the impact of pathogens, did not work on the study but reviewed it.

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Pregnant woman holding a mask.

Pregnant woman holding a mask. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Other Study

The other study was peer-reviewed and published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine on Sunday. This study examined the effect of Covid-19 on pregnant women in their third trimester.

Between March and September of last year, scientists examined the records of over 2,400 women at one hospital in Israel. They discovered significant health differences between those who had Covid-19 and those who did not. Sixty-seven percent of Covid-19 positive patients were asymptomatic.

Dr. Elior Eliasi of the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center and colleagues discovered that women with symptomatic Covid-19 had the most difficulty. They had a higher rate of gestational diabetes, a lower white blood cell count, and heavier bleeding during labor. Their babies also had more breathing issues.

Women with Covid-19 symptoms had a nearly 20% higher risk of problems, while people with asymptomatic Covid-19 had a 14% higher risk. Unlike the other study, this one did not find that symptomatic women were significantly more likely to give birth early.

Due to the study’s limitations, which included only pregnant women from a single hospital, its findings may not apply to all pregnant people.

According to Dr. Denise Jamieson, who was not involved in this study, the risks of COVID-19 far outweigh the risks to pregnant women of getting vaccinated, and these new studies add to a growing body of evidence that COVID-19, particularly symptomatic COVID-19, poses a real threat to pregnant women.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one-third of pregnant women are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Vaccines can protect pregnant women from contracting Covid-19, and if they do, vaccinated individuals are much more likely to experience mild symptoms, if any at all. A vaccine’s protection is also passed on to the newborn.

Jamieson, chair of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine and a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Covid-19 expert group believes doctors should encourage pregnant patients to get the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

The CDC initially stated that women could receive the vaccine, but it did not recommend it. This is because the initial vaccine studies did not include pregnant women on purpose, despite the fact that some women became pregnant during the studies. Following additional research, the CDC issued an urgent plea in September urging pregnant women to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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