Covid during pregnancy increases risk of maternal death


Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are seven times more likely to die than uninfected pregnant women, and the findings come amid renewed calls for vaccination for pregnant women who are about to give birth. .

The researchers, whose findings were published Monday in the journal BMJ Global Health, pooled patient data from more than 13,000 pregnant individuals included in 12 studies from 12 countries, including the United States. In addition to the high mortality rate, infected pregnant women were at increased risk of being admitted to intensive care, needing a ventilator, and developing pneumonia if infected with the coronavirus. .

Infants born to people who contracted coronavirus during pregnancy were also at increased risk of developing severe outcomes. They were twice as likely to need intensive care unit care after birth and had a higher risk of premature birth.

Emily R. Smith, lead author of the study and assistant professor of international health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, said the lower rates of vaccination among pregnant women are likely due to: said. Probably young and mostly healthy. “

While pregnancy outcomes overall have improved over time, it is not a health-neutral event. And coronavirus adds another layer of risk that can increase the likelihood of serious consequences.

Pregnant women are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the new coronavirus, even if they do not have underlying medical conditions.

Newborn deaths from coronavirus infection remain rare in the United States, but infants born to people with coronavirus who had a close delivery date had a 2% chance of being virus-positive in the first few days of life, Americans said. According to. Academy of Pediatrics.

As research continues to develop around the post-COVID-19 impact on this age group, the impact on cognitive and physical developmental problems in infants or children remains unknown.

This is why many health associations, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, recommend coronavirus vaccines for pregnant women. We estimate that the number of individuals who received the coronavirus vaccine at any given time before and during pregnancy has declined since 2021.

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health policy organization, found that as of May 2022, about 29% of women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant will have some form of misconception surrounding the coronavirus vaccine. Some of the unsubstantiated claims about vaccine effects included effects on fertility and breastfeeding.

The study found that even if there was an overall confidence in vaccines for adults, there could be some hesitation when someone gave birth to a child or tried to conceive.

Kathryn Gray, an expert in maternal and fetal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said the misinformation around vaccines may be partly due to anti-vaccine rhetoric on social media. said that there is

“This has become a political issue. I don’t think our health policy message is staying at the level it should be,” said Gray. “People are still dying from it, and public policy messages on health fall short given the significant health consequences.”

Outside of pregnancy, global vaccination coverage is declining, and pandemic fatigue is affecting much of the world, causing a sharp decline.

Despite growing evidence that vaccines significantly reduce the risk of death and hospitalization from SARS-CoV-2 infection, Smith said promoting vaccination of young people is a global concern, He said it was not limited to the United States.

Jennifer L. Lighter, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at NYU Langone Health, added that greater impetus is needed in the health community to get people vaccinated during pregnancy. “Some gynecologists and obstetricians don’t prioritize giving it,” she said.

Smith hopes the study will encourage more pregnant individuals to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“This is not extreme advice,” Smith said. “However, it is important to know that pregnant people are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, so it is worth getting vaccinated and taking these precautions.”

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