Delta variant linked to increased risk of stillbirth, CDC study finds

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Pregnant women who become infected with the delta type have a . increases the risk of steelbirth Or die in childbirthAccording to two new studies published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The research expands on reports from doctors across the country who have observed an unprecedented increase in pregnant women becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, especially as the highly contagious version has taken hold.


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“We are seeing a load of pregnancy complications from COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Eli Ragsdale, director of fetal interventions at UH Cleveland Medical Center.

Those complications include premature labor, abnormally high blood pressure in pregnant women, as well as pregnancy loss, said Ragsdale, who was not involved in the new research.

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One of the new studies analyzed the outcomes of more than 1.2 million pregnancies nationwide between March 2020 and September this year.

Stillbirths were rare in the United States before the pandemic, at a rate of .59 percent. Those rates remained the same even with .64 percent of women hit by the pandemic who had never been diagnosed with COVID.

But according to the CDC report, the rate of stillbirth among pregnant mothers infected with the coronavirus rose to .98 percent.

And once the delta version took hold in July of this year, rates rose sharply: 2.7 percent of Covid-positive pregnancies ended in stillbirth.

“Although stillbirth was a rare outcome overall,” the study authors wrote, documented covid diagnosis was associated with a significant increase in the risk of stillbirth, “with a strong association during periods of delta variant predominance.”

The study doesn’t prove that the delta variant causes more fetal deaths, but increasingly, obstetricians are recording notable differences in how much oxygen a fetus can absorb, depending on whether their Whether the mother has been diagnosed with Covid or not.

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Ragsdale said she and her colleagues have noted that pregnant women with COVID have a difficult time getting oxygen-rich blood to their growing fetuses.

“We’re looking at areas of the placenta that are deprived of oxygen,” she said. “That is the source of oxygen for the baby and survival in pregnancy.”

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Experts said the CDC analysis did not assess vaccination status, but unvaccinated pregnant women may be at particular risk.

As the Delta edition took hold in July, the CDC said, only a third of pregnant women had been vaccinated against Covid.

The CDC reported that 348 pregnancies were lost out of 34,016 COVID-positive pregnant women.

In addition, the virus can be fatal for the mother as well, especially if she has an underlying health condition. A separate CDC report published on Friday looked at 15 deaths among COVID-positive pregnant women in Mississippi. Almost everyone had some sort of chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

no one was fully vaccinated, In September, the CDC issued a health alert urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid.

“We have evidence to show that the vaccine does not pose any risk of miscarriage or poor pregnancy outcomes,” said Dr. Zasakeba Henderson, deputy chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes. “All the evidence points to the safety of this vaccine.”

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