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What To Expect When You Are Expecting With COVID-19

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
COVID-19 does affect some pregnancies says study.

The latest study on identifying the risks to an unborn child if the mother becomes infected with COVID-19, offers this advice on what to expect when you are expecting.

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A news release from De Gruyter's Journal of Perinatal Medicine, reports their recent findings of what risks are involved when a woman is pregnant and exposed to COVID-19 infection. These findings are the results after analyzing the data from 388 pregnancies in 22 different countries in what is called “…the largest study of pregnant mothers with COVID-19 published to date.”

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Health of the Mother Results

According to the news release, an earlier analysis of the 388 pregnancies focused on the health of the mother found that:

• Maternal mortality levels were relatively low, but some women experienced serious illness.
• Approximately 11% of the mothers required admission to an intensive care unit.
• Intubation was needed in 6.4% of those admitted.

Health of the Baby Results

The more recent analysis of the same data focused on the unborn children found that:

• Adverse outcomes observed during the study included miscarriage, stillbirth or death within the first 28 days after birth.

• The rate of child mortality among the pregnancies was approximately 4%.

• Of the 4%, mortality was associated with premature births.

• Trends observed as risk factors for adverse outcomes included:

1. Occurrence of poor fetal health if coronavirus infection happens during the first trimester.
2. Lower birthweight.
3. Mothers hospitalized and requiring being placed on oxygen.

"The incidence of poor fetal outcomes was significantly higher when COVID-19 infection occurred in the first 3 months of pregnancy," said Dr. Cihat Sen, a researcher involved in the study. "This was also true for children with lower birth weight and when mothers were so ill that they required oxygen treatment."

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"These results could allow doctors to more appropriately tailor the treatment of pregnant women with COVID-19 by helping them to identify risk factors that could increase the chances of an adverse outcome," said Dr. Sen.

One Positive Result from the Study

One of the conclusions of the study is that the risk of vertical transmission appears to be negligible; Although all of the women in the study had COVID-19, only one baby tested positive for the disease—and was asymptomatic. This is an encouraging finding due to little is determined as of yet regarding the transmission of COVID-19 in utero.

The health experts state that the take away messages from their findings are that:

1. Measures must be used to minimize the risk of infection during early pregnancy.

2. Doctors should consider closely monitor babies with low birth weight.

3. Doctors should closely monitor unborn babies whose mothers required ventilation while pregnant.

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Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: Courtesy of Parentingupstream from Pixabay

References:

Revealing the impacts of COVID-19 on unborn children” News release from De Gruyter's Journal of Perinatal Medicine, Sept. 30, 2020.

Risk factors associated with adverse fetal outcomes in pregnancies affected by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a secondary analysis of the WAPM study on COVID-19” Daniele Di Mascio et al.; Journal of Perinatal Medicine, Ahead of Print online release.

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