Pregnant Patients with COVID Face Risk of Stillbirth, Death

Delta variant made things much more grim
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2021 11:19 AM CST
Death, Stillbirth a Big Risk for Pregnant Patients with COVID
File photo of a pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)

(Newser) – Pregnancy puts patients at greater risk of dying of COVID, a new study shows. The death rate for the virus during pregnancy is three times greater than it would be otherwise, and the risk goes up for patients with the delta variant, per CBS News. The study used data from the Mississippi State Department of Health from March 2020—the beginning of the pandemic—to October. In that span, 15 pregnant COVID patients who weren’t fully vaccinated died. The delta variant caused a sharp uptick in the risk of stillbirth, too. A different study found that while stillbirth wasn’t a common outcome for pregnant COVID patients, an infection seemed to have an effect on the placenta. During the prevalence of the delta surge, 2.7% of COVID-affected deliveries ended in a stillbirth.

The study reported that 14 of the 15 who died had underlying health conditions, per the Washington Post. Black and Hispanic patients were more likely to die making up 12 of the 15 deaths. Most of the deaths happened after the babies were born, but three died during pregnancy. The CDC recommends vaccination during pregnancy if not before, though some are hesitant to try. The lack of clear data around COVID and pregnancy at the beginning of the pandemic likely caused some hesitation. “As evidence mounts about how serious a disease covid-19 is in pregnancy, the message need to be unequivocally to get vaccinated,” Ruth Faden, a medical ethicist at Johns Hopkins, said. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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