Covid-19 infection during pregnancy was initially thought to be a substantial risk for the newborn but the researches proved otherwise. According to a new study, Covid-19 positive mother doesn’t increase the likelihood of birth-related problems such as stillbirth or early death of the baby.
These results were obtained from data obtained from 4000 women who were pregnant and diagnosed with Covid-19. Most doctors were of an opinion that they will either deliver prematurely or experience a high risk of birth-related problems. These women delivered their babies from January 2020 to August 2020.
This new study conducted by the research team from Imperial College London. The complete results are published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The research team extracted data obtained from 4004 pregnant mothers from UK and US who were suspected or confirmed with Covid-19 infection. Among these 4004 women, 1606 women were living in the UK and their data was obtained through a registry system known as PAN-COVID. The rest of the 2398 cases were reported from the US and this data was taken from the registry by the American Academy of Pediatrics (SONPM data registry).
PAN-COVID works under the Medical Research Council in the UK, in collaboration with National Institute for Health Research as well as the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.
According to this data, no woman experienced a stillbirth or death of the newborn. There was no case of low birth weight reported in any case. But one thing common in both UK and US-based pregnant women was an increased risk of early birth (also called preterm birth), typically before 37 weeks.
Most of these women who were a part of this study didn’t have any pre-existing health condition which could have increased risks for them, such as diabetes type 2, asthma, and others. During delivery, eight women died in the UK and four women in the US lost their lives.
Among these UK-based women who experienced preterm birth (before 37 weeks), 12% of the pregnancy cases were either suspected or were confirmed with Covid-19. This ratio is nearly 60% higher as compared to the average rate of pre-term birth in the UK which is around 7.5%. On the other side, 15.7% of US-based women experienced a pre-term birth which is more than 57% more than the average pre-term rate which is around 10%.
This research team also studied this aspect that delivering before the decided time might be the decision of the doctors as they were concerned regarding the effects of infection for the newborn or the mother.
Christoph Lees from the Department of Metabolism, Digestion, and Reproduction, at Imperial College London is the senior author of this study. According to him, coronavirus doesn’t change the chances of stillbirth or death of the baby which is reassuring considering the widespread and high infection levels in the US and UK. However, how it affects preterm birth was reported and there is no clear information on what causes it.
Despite the low risk of complications, these findings suggest that during pregnancy, all women should get a priority for receiving Covid-19 vaccines. Plus, the existing measures should be practiced by pregnant women, which will them from Covid-19 and eventually the birth-related problems.