WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News)
In this pandemic era, moms-to-be understandably worry about the risks COVID-19 might pose to their baby. A new study offers some answers.
“The finding that COVID-19 infection does not increase the risk of stillbirth or baby death is reassuring. However, a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis was linked to a higher risk of preterm birth, and it isn’t entirely clear why,” study co-author Dr. Christoph Lees said in an Imperial College London news release. He’s a professor of obstetrics at the college.
However, they did have an increased chance of preterm birth, which is birth before 37 weeks.
The rate of preterm birth among the U.S. women was almost 16%, which is 57% higher than the national average of 10%. The rate was 12% among the U.K. women, which is 60% higher than the national average of 7.5%.
Here’s one possible reason for the higher preterm birth rates among women with COVID-19: Doctors may have delivered babies earlier due to concerns about how the infection would affect mothers and infants, according to the researchers. They noted that the rate of spontaneous preterm birth in the study was lower than expected.
The study supports COVID-19 vaccination efforts, said study co-author Ed Mullins.
“This study supports the prioritization of vaccination for women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant, and existing measures that protect women in pregnancy from infection, in order to reduce preterm birth,” said Mullins, who is a lecturer in the college’s department of metabolism, digestion and reproduction.
The findings were published recently in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
SOURCE: Imperial College London, news release, Feb. 23, 2021
Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.