Although it is rare, Covid can increase the risk of stillbirth in pregnant women.
The shocking picture that Covid-19 can have on pregnant women , and their growing babies, was revealed in research published Thursday.
According to a study published in the journal Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, the virus can kill and disable the placenta (a vascular organ that provides lifeline for a fetus), causing asphyxiation or stillbirth.
“We have never before seen such severe disease from an infectious disease.” The placenta was unable to perform its duties, said Dr. David Schwartz who is a private Atlanta perinatal pathologist. “These newborns and fetuses died of asphyxiation from lack of oxygen.”
Schwartz and his colleagues examined 68 cases of perinatal death in 12 countries. All 68 babies died or were stillborn within seven days after being born. All of the babies had mothers who had not been vaccinated or had been infected by the coronavirus during pregnancy. The study involved examinations of all 68 placedntas and 30 autopsies.
Although there were no other anomalies in fetal physiology than asphyxiation, researchers found a trend in placentas that they are calling “SARS CoV-2 placentitis.”
It is composed of three factors: The buildup of fibrin protein, which causes clotting within the delicate vascular system of the organ; the death cells in protective layer of the placenta and unusual inflammation.
The average placenta had more than three quarters of its normal size, and the organ was unable to deliver nutrients or oxygen to the baby. Some cases had more than 90% of the placenta dead.
Fibrin can be found in normal pregnancies. Dr. Kjersti Aagaard is a Baylor College of Medicine professor of maternal-fetal Medicine. She was not part of the new study. But what you don’t see is that three-quarters the placenta is filled with these substances. That is the only way a fetus could survive.”
Because pregnancy weakens an individual’s immune system, pregnant women are more likely to contract infection. Covid infection is different than other viral infections in pregnancy. This is because it affects the body in a way that restricts blood flow to and lingers.
It causes a more severe reaction in the respiratory tree. Patients have suffered slow recovery and this constant damage to their lungs that they cannot recover from,” stated Dr. Ellie Ragsdale of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center’s Fetal Intervention. She was not involved in the new study.
Ragsdale stated that Covid can cause severe problems in women even if they don’t have severe diseases. The worst part is that we are seeing it in women with very mild symptoms of Covid. Their only sign may be damage to their placenta.
It is possible to cause no complications if only a small amount of the placenta has been damaged.
Ragsdale stated that if the area is larger, Ragsdale will see “growth restriction from your baby and decreased fetal movement as the first signs.” You will also see a pregnancy loss. Sometimes, this happens very quickly.
Schwartz says that early research has shown that SARS-CoV-2placentitis can occur over a period of up to two weeks. To detect warning signs and to prevent the baby from becoming sick, obstetricians should perform third-trimester ultrasounds of pregnant women who have been infected by Covid.
“Obstetricians are constantly seeing placental insufficiencies in their practice. It is impossible to reverse, but it is possible to consider having the baby delivered. Schwartz stated that if it is medically possible, the fetus can be removed.
Aagaard stated that while stillbirths due to Covid are rare, the infection can increase a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that was published in November showed that stillbirths among pregnant mothers in the U.S. that had been positive for Covid during pregnancy increased almost three-fold in the Delta wave that began last July.
Pre-pandemic, around 0.59 percent of pregnancies were stillborn. 1.98 percent of stillbirths in the first phase of the pandemic were caused by pregnant mothers infected. The rate rose to 2.7% for Covid-infected expectant moms once the delta variant became common.
Doctors believe that the best way to protect your baby and yourself during pregnancy is to get the Covid vaccination.
Aagaard stated that while there are many things we don’t know how to prevent during pregnancy, including stillbirths not related to Covid-19 (stillbirths), we can prevent stillbirths from being caused by Covid-19 with a vaccine.
The CDC and the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists strongly recommend pregnant women get vaccinated against Covid.
The safety of vaccines for pregnant women and babies is being demonstrated more frequently. A study published in JAMA pediatrics Thursday found that there was no difference in preterm births or low birth weights between mothers who had been vaccinated and those who had not. These results are not due to the fact that the vaccine did not increase the likelihood of these outcomes for pregnant women. The number of infants admitted to hospital within the first five months of their lives was also not significantly different.
Aagaard stated that “These studies, taken together, reinforce the idea that the best decision any pregnant person or their family can make is to get the Covid vaccination.” They can do this to increase their chances of a smooth and healthy delivery.