Covid in pregnancy linked to stillbirths and newborn deaths, study suggests

Covid in pregnancy linked to stillbirths and newborn deaths, study suggests

All the women whose babies died had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 at the time of infection, though experts stressed that it is not possible to say if Covid-19 contributed directly to the deaths or preterm births as they did not have access to detailed clinical records for individual women.

Ladies who have Covid-19 towards the end of their pregnancy are more powerless against stillbirths, newborn newborn and birth related complications, another study suggests. The research additionally observed that most confusions happened in ladies who were not vaccinated, with the larger part (98%) of pregnant ladies with Covid-19 who were conceded to basic consideration being unvaccinated. The study, which remembered in excess of 87,000 people for Scotland found that preterm births, stillbirths and newborn deaths were more normal among ladies who had the virus 28 days or less before their conveyance date, compared to background rates.

”Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy is crucial to protect women and babies from preventable, life-threatening complications of Covid-19”.

Researchers found that vaccination uptake during the study period, between December 2020 and October 2021, was lower in pregnant women, compared with women aged 18 to 44 in the general population.

Just under a third (32%) of pregnant women who gave birth in October 2021 were fully vaccinated – meaning more than 14 days had elapsed since a second vaccine – compared with 77% of the general female population aged 18 to 44.

Experts said the findings, which are part of the the Covid-19 in Pregnancy in Scotland (Cops) study, highlight the importance of getting the vaccine.

Cops co-lead Dr Sarah Stock, of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute , who is also a consultant obstetrician, said: “Our data add to the evidence that vaccination in pregnancy does not increase the risk of complications in pregnancy, but Covid-19 does.

“Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy is crucial to protect women and babies from preventable, life-threatening complications of Covid-19.”

The team analysed data on extended perinatal deaths, which is defined as the death of a baby in the womb after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or in the first 28 days after birth. They found that the extended perinatal death rate among babies born within 28 days of their mother developing Covid-19 was 23 per 1,000 births.

This was then compared to the background perinatal mortality rate, the rate for all babies born in Scotland regardless of whether their mother had previously had Covid-19 or been vaccinated, which was six per 1000 births during the pandemic. Some 17% of babies born within 28 days of their mother developing Covid-19 were delivered prematurely – more than three weeks before their due date – compared to a background preterm birth rate of 8%.

The study said that, to date, there has been one maternal death following Covid-19 infection in pregnancy in Scotland. Since the start of Scotland’s vaccination programme, a total of 4,950 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed during pregnancy, with 77% of these cases in unvaccinated women.

The team monitored complication rates in women who received a Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy and found that the perinatal mortality and preterm birth rates in women within 28 days of receiving a vaccine were very similar to background rates, which experts said provides further reassurance on the safety of vaccination during pregnancy. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), in December, said that pregnant women should be regarded as a clinical risk group for Covid-19 and should be given vaccines quickly.

Cops co-lead, Dr Rachael Wood, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with Public Health Scotland, said: “It is clear that vaccination is the safest and most effective way for pregnant women to protect themselves and their babies from severe Covid-19 disease.” The research team included scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Strathclyde, and St Andrew’s, Public Health Scotland, and Victoria University of Wellington.

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