A new study participated by 28 countries from March to October 2020 found out that COVID-19 causes severe complications to pregnant women.

Complications of COVID-19 to Pregnant Women

There have been different studies conducted about the link between COVID-19 and pregnant women. Some studies said COVID-19 does not cause severe complications, while others opposed these findings.

In a recent study published in the JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found out in their so-called INTERCOVID study that pregnant women and their babies are at high risk of getting infected with the virus.

The researchers followed around 2,130 pregnant women from 18 countries between March and October 2020. About 706 of them were diagnosed by the virus while the rest did not, and researchers did the same method on the infected pregnant women.

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How the Researchers Did the Study?

According to a recently published article in Science Alert, the team then recruited two pregnant women from the same hospital at the same pregnancy stage with each pregnant woman who was infected with COVID-19 and treated them all until the birth and discharge from the hospital.

The study was retrospective, so it can only tell us about possible associations between COVID-19 and pregnancy complications, but the outcomes are consistently worse for pregnant women who have COVID-19.

Stephen Kennedy, one of the authors and University of Oxford reproductive medical researcher, said, "We now know that the risks to mothers and babies are greater than we assumed at the start of the pandemic and that known health measures when implemented must include pregnant women," according to a published article in Science Mag.

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Results and Findings of the Study

The study discovered that pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 were at a greater risk of serious illnesses, intensive care unit admissions, and even death. Babies were also slightly more likely to be born prematurely and with other complications.

Aris Papageorghiou, Oxford fetal medicine researcher and study co-author, said women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy were more than 50% more likely to have pregnancy complications such as premature labor, pre-eclampsia, referral to intensive care, and death than pregnant women who did not have COVID-19.

Infected women's newborns were still almost three times more likely to have serious medical problems, such as admission to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, due to premature delivery. However, the findings of this study should not pose fear for those who are planning to get married.

Why This Study Is Important

This is critical detail about someone who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It has been shown already that the virus can be transmitted from mother to son, and this study adds to the body of knowledge by discovering that 13% of babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers have tested positive in the first few days after birth.

Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that cesarean delivery was linked to a greater chance of babies testing positive for the infection, while breastfeeding was not. This is unlikely to be the last word on the topic.

Still, the study offers much-needed clarity for those planning or thinking about being pregnant as the pandemic persists, as well as useful knowledge for officials overseeing vaccine systems.