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Study examines how COVID-19 can impact pregnant women, their babies

ANI | Updated: Jan 21, 2022 17:13 IST

Washington [US], January 21 (ANI): A new study has found that pregnant women should get vaccinated to minimize the detrimental health effects COVID-19 has on the placenta, the foetus, and the newborn.
The study has been published in 'The Journal of Infectious Diseases'.
The editorial provided a comprehensive review of what is known about the harmful effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women themselves, the effects on their newborns, the negative impact on the placenta, and what still is unknown amid the rapidly evolving field. The safety and efficacy of vaccination of pregnant women are also addressed.
While pregnant women are at higher risk of severe illness, the virus can also trigger inflammatory and vascular responses in the placenta during critical periods of foetal development in symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
In this piece, Dr Roberta L. DeBiasi, M.D., M.S., division chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children's National Hospital, commented on two related studies published in the same issue, demonstrating pathologic findings in women's placentas who had COVID-19 during pregnancy.
"The authors present a highly plausible mechanism of stillbirth, namely that the virus-induced proinflammatory state ultimately led to placental abruption," said Dr DeBiasi.

"Taking the studies together, it's evident that if a pregnant woman gets COVID-19 they're at an increased risk of severe infection," said DeBiasi.
"They're also at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, due to effects on the placenta, which may vary with specific circulating variants," DeBiasi added.
Previous studies have documented that the placenta may be detrimentally affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection of the mother. However, maternal comorbidities such as hypertension, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes could also contribute to these findings.
"Despite these previous studies, the precise mechanisms of placental injury are still not clear and require further evaluation," said Dr DeBiasi.
"Future research should include appropriate controls to better discern nonspecific versus SARS-CoV-2 specific effects and mechanisms of injury," DeBiasi added.
Even though these potential risks exist, the vaccination rate among pregnant women is low. Dr DeBiasi wrote that recent publications have demonstrated vaccine efficacy and safety during pregnancy through programs that tracked the use in pregnant women.
This data supported that COVID-19 vaccine offered another layer of protection to pregnant women since infants are not yet eligible for vaccination despite the fact that the youngest infants and children are among the most at risk among children for hospitalization. (ANI)