In March, when coronavirus cases were spreading like anything, a pregnant woman reportedly infected with the virus was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital. This woman was in 2nd trimester of pregnancy was became severely ill. At that time there was no information available especially COVID-19 care for pregnant mothers to prevent miscarriage and save the unborn child.
The physician tried their best to save this pregnant woman who was exhibiting severe symptoms and also took her samples to understand the risk for other pregnant women. The case report was later on published in the Journal of Critical Investigation.
It reveals that coronavirus after entering inside the pregnant woman’s body passed through the placenta. Because of this, her blood pressure increased to an extremely high level which is a risk factor in pregnancy. It also explains how dangerous this virus can be especially for pregnant women.
Dr. Heather S. Lipkind is the lead researcher of this study and she shares her interest in studying hypertension during pregnancy. When the coronavirus is inside a pregnant woman’s body, its concentration is much higher in the placenta as compared to other parts of the body.
This somehow triggers a rare pathology that shares character with another condition called histiocytic intervillositis. This is the body’s inflammatory response which shows up in extreme pregnancy-related complications. But surprisingly, it can be induced by COVID-19 and not just in this case but other cases also reported the same.
This 35-years old pregnant woman was suffering from gestational hypertension which means high blood pressure induced by pregnancy. She was already having some risk factors that could trigger preeclampsia in pregnant women.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related complication where the blood pressure becomes so high that it actually starts to damage body organs. If ignored or untreated, it can cause miscarriage or death of the mother. So it seems like COVID-19 and miscarriage definitely have some connection.
In this particular case, it is possible that the coronavirus particle traveled all the way up through the placenta and induced inflammation response. Due to this, her blood pressure increased so high that she was in preeclampsia almost immediately.
Normally, Preeclampsia is considered a vascular condition, and its link with coronavirus which typically affects the lungs is not much clear. But after this case, many other women also reported the same vascular complications caused by COVID-19 that led to a miscarriage, heart problems, and many neurological problems.
According to Dr. Lipkind, the only way to treat preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. So doctors forcefully deliver the baby before the due date in order to save the baby and mother both.
Ever since this case report is published, many other cases have confirmed these findings. Some cases verify the assumption of transplacental transmission of coronavirus which was only a hypothesis in this case. Thanks to other case studies, it is now confirmed that it is 100% possible.
After this case, every pregnant woman that came to Yale’s Hospital for any reason was tested for the deadly coronavirus, irrespective of her symptoms. It was to determine the potential risks for these pregnant women and their unborn children.
Another study revealed that 13.5% of women who gave birth to babies in March and April when the pandemic was at the peak were asymptomatic carriers. There is no enough information on how this virus is transmitted to the unborn baby from the mother, but health experts believe this to be extremely rare.