Women who are infected with COVID-19 towards the end of pregnancy they are more vulnerable to complications related to childbirth, according to a study, which highlights that the majority occur among the unvaccinated.
An investigation published today Nature Medicine analyzed data from all pregnant women in Scotland, including more than 87,000 who were between the start of vaccination, in December 2020, and last October.
The team led by the Edinburgh University points out that women with COVID-19 towards the end of pregnancy are more likely to suffer complications, compared to those who become ill in the early stages of pregnancy or have not passed it.
Preterm deliveries and stillbirths or babies who die shortly after birth are more common among women who become ill 28 days or less before their due date.
The “Most complications”, that also include intensive care admissions related to COVID-19, occurred in unvaccinated women, according to the study.
The experts indicated that it is not possible to say whether COVID-19 directly contributed to deaths or premature births, as they did not have access to the detailed medical records of each woman.
The main author of the investigation, Sarah Stock, from the University of Edinburgh, indicated in a virtual press conference that, since the beginning of the vaccination program, 77% of COVID-19 cases in pregnant women corresponded to unvaccinated and hospitalizations and ICU admissions were “Substantially more common” in this group.
On the contrary, he highlighted that only 3% of hospital admissions and 1% in intensive care units were of fully vaccinated women.
About 12% of COVID-19 cases occurred in pregnant women who had only received one dose of the vaccine or who were diagnosed with the disease less than fourteen days after the second.
The key message is that “Vaccination is the safest and most effective way for mothers to protect themselves and their babies from infection”said Aziz Sheikh, also an author of the study.
The team analyzed data on extended perinatal deaths, that is, the death of a baby in the womb after 24 weeks of pregnancy or in the first 28 days after birth.
This mortality rate among babies born in the 28 days following the development of COVID-19 by their mothers was 23 per 1,000 births.
All infant deaths were in women who were not vaccinated at the time of infection, the study says.
Furthermore, about 17% of babies born within 28 days of infection were premature, more than three weeks before the expected date.
32% of pregnant women who gave birth in Scotland last October were fully vaccinated (more than fourteen days had passed since the second dose), compared to 77% of the general female population aged 18-44.
Stock added that the data from this research “They add to the evidence that vaccination in pregnancy does not increase the risk of pregnancy complications, but covid-19 does” it does.