Pregnant women who contract Covid-19 are twice as likely to have a stillborn child, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found.
This danger increased during the deadly Delta wave in the summer of 2021, with pregnant women infected with the virus four times the risk of stillbirth.
The study of 1.2 million births in more than 700 hospitals between March 2020 and September 2021, found that for women with Covid, around 1 in 80 deliveries resulted in a stillbirth.
Among uninfected women, that figure was about 1 in 155.
For women with Covid-19, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure have compounded the danger.
“These results underscore the importance of prevention strategies for Covid-19, including vaccination before or during pregnancy,” said Carla DeSisto, researcher at the CDC.
Pregnant women with Covid were also at higher risk of developing serious illness and in some cases fatal, and of experiencing complications such as premature births.
The results of the in-depth study reinforce the concerns of obstetricians and support anecdotal data about the dangers of Covid for women, researchers say.
They say the risk of stillbirth is low, but warn women should not underestimate the dangers of Covid if they are pregnant.
Some experts believe that the virus can cause inflammation of the placenta or other abnormalities that can harm the fetus.
“What is really sad is that we have 10 months of a vaccine which has been very effective and we just cannot convince people to take advantage of it,” said Dr Mark Turrentine, professor at Baylor. College of Medicine in Houston.
Future studies were needed to examine how pregnancies from Covid affected different races, the authors said.
“Covid-19 has disproportionately affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them at greater risk of becoming ill and dying. “
Studies have concluded that Covid vaccines are safe for pregnant women.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
The Independent Gt