Data shows unvaccinated women with Covid are more likely to lose fetuses and infants

Researchers in Scotland reported Thursday that pregnant women with Covid were not only more likely to develop a serious illness, but also more likely to lose their fetuses and babies in the womb or shortly after birth, compared to other women who gave birth during the pandemic. .

The risk of losing a child through stillbirth or the first month of life was higher among women who gave birth within four weeks of the onset of Covid infection: 22.6 deaths per 1,000 births, four times the rate in Scotland of 5.6 deaths per person. 1000 births.

The researchers found that all of these deaths occurred in pregnancies among unimmunized women. Dr. said. .

The study also found a higher rate of premature birth among women with Covid, a rate that rises if the baby is born within a month of the mother contracting the disease. More than 16 percent of these women gave birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, compared to 8 percent among other women.

In Scotland, as in the United States, vaccination rates for pregnant women are low. Only a third of pregnant women are vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite the protection afforded by vaccination. Early research has found no evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines pose serious risks during pregnancy.

In fact, the Scottish study found that the vast majority of infections among pregnant women were in those who had not been fully or only partially vaccinated. Only 11 percent of total infections were reported among fully vaccinated pregnant women.

Pregnant women who had not been vaccinated were four times more likely to be hospitalized, compared to pregnant women who had been vaccinated.

Dr Stock and colleagues analyzed data collected by the Scotland Covid-19 Pregnancy Study, a national cohort of all women who were pregnant or pregnant after 1 March 2020 through the end of October 2021. The team tracked 144,546 pregnancies in 130,875 women during this period.

One of the study’s weaknesses is that the authors did not adjust for confounding factors, such as maternal age or pre-existing medical conditions, that can lead to poor pregnancy outcomes regardless of MERS-CoV infection, COVID diagnosis, hospitalization for COVID, or incidentally finding that the test is positive upon entry).

The study noted that vaccination rates are low among pregnant women across the board, but particularly low among younger women and those with lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The authors said that future analyzes will take these demographics and other confounding factors into account.

However, the discrepancies in hospitalization, preterm delivery and infant loss rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated women are so remarkable that these adjustments are unlikely to change conclusions, said Dr. Stock and colleagues.

They urged pregnant women to get vaccinated, echoing calls from US health officials.

“The main key we want to get to is that the best way to protect mother and baby is vaccination at the earliest opportunity, and this can be done at any stage of pregnancy,” said Aziz Sheikh, a population health researcher. at the University of Edinburgh and one of the paper’s authors.

“We have enough information to get the really strong message across about promoting vaccination in pregnancy now,” said Rachel Wood, consultant public health medicine at Public Health Scotland and a member of the study team.

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