NIH-funded study suggests COVID-19 increases the risk of pregnancy complications
NIH-funded study suggests COVID-19 increases the risk of pregnancy complications

NIH-funded study suggests COVID-19 increases the risk of pregnancy complications

News release

Monday, February 7, 2022

Pregnant women with COVID-19 appear to be at greater risk for common pregnancy complications – in addition to health risks from the virus – than pregnant women without COVID-19, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The study, which included nearly 2,400 pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2, showed that those with moderate to severe infection were more likely to have a caesarean section, give birth prematurely, die around childbirth, or experience severe hypertensive disease. disorders during pregnancy, postpartum haemorrhage or infection other than SARS-CoV-2. They were also more likely to lose the pregnancy or cause an infant to die during the newborn period. Mild or asymptomatic infection was not associated with increased pregnancy risks.

“The results underscore the need for women of childbearing potential and pregnant women to be vaccinated and take other precautions against becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2,” said Diana Bianchi, MD, Director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which funded the study. “This is the best way to protect pregnant women and their babies.”

The study was conducted by Torri D. Metz, MD, of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and colleagues in the NICHD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network. It appears from Journal of the American Medical Association. Additional funding was provided by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

The study included more than 13,000 pregnant women from 17 U.S. hospitals, approximately 2,400 of whom were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Participants delivered between March 1 and December 31, 2020, before SARS-CoV-2 vaccination was available. The researchers compared results among those with COVID-19 with results from uninfected patients and tabulated the study results as a primary outcome – whether the patient had died of any cause or had a serious illness or condition related to common obstetric complications. They also evaluated the results in terms of several secondary outcomes, including cesarean section, premature birth and fetal and newborn death.

Compared to uninfected patients, those with moderate to severe COVID-19 were more likely to experience the primary outcome (26.1 vs. 9.2%). They were also more likely to give birth by caesarean section (45.4 vs 32.4%) or prematurely (26.9 vs 14.1%) or to have a fetal or newborn death (3.5 vs 1.8 %). Mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 was not associated with any of the adverse outcomes.

Around Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, improve the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all. For more information, visit https://www.nichd.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):The NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information on the NIH and its programs, visit www.rul.gov.

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