Biden, Covid-19 and Omicron News: Live Updates

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Scottish researchers reported on Thursday that pregnant women with Covid were not only more at risk of developing serious illness, but also more likely to lose their fetuses and babies in the womb or soon after birth, compared to other women who gave birth during the pandemic.

The risk of losing a baby through stillbirth or the first month of life was highest among women who gave birth within four weeks of onset of a Covid infection: 22.6 deaths per 1,000 births, four times the Scotland rate of 5.6 deaths per 1000 births.

All of these deaths occurred during pregnancies in unvaccinated women, the researchers found. “Strikingly enough, no baby deaths have occurred in women with SARS-CoV-2 who have been vaccinated,” said Dr Sarah J. Stock, lead author of the article, specialist in maternal and fetal medicine. at the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh in Exeter. .

The study also found a higher rate of premature births among women diagnosed with Covid, a rate that increased if the baby was born within one month of the mother’s illness. More than 16 percent of these women gave birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, compared to 8 percent of other women.

In Scotland, as in the United States, vaccination rates for pregnant women are low. Only a third of pregnant women are vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite the protections offered by the vaccination. Early research found no evidence that Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines pose serious risks during pregnancy.

Indeed, the Scottish study found that the vast majority of infections in pregnant women were among those who were not vaccinated at all or were only partially vaccinated. Only 11 percent of total infections were reported in fully immunized pregnant women.

Unvaccinated pregnant women were also four times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated pregnant women.

Dr Stock and his colleagues analyzed data collected by the Covid-19 in Pregnancy in Scotland study, a national cohort of all women who are pregnant or become pregnant after March 1, 2020, through the end of October 2021. The team followed 144,546 pregnancies. in 130,875 women during this period.

One weakness of the study is that the authors did not adjust for confounding factors, such as the mother’s age or pre-existing medical conditions, which could lead to poor pregnancy outcomes regardless of coronavirus infection or of the diagnosis of Covid (they also did not know whether the women who were hospitalized were admitted due to Covid disease, or accidentally tested positive on admission).

Vaccination rates are low among pregnant women overall, but are particularly low among younger women and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, the study notes. Future analyzes will take these demographic and other confounding factors into account, the authors said.

Yet the differences in rates of hospitalization, preterm birth and infant loss between vaccinated and unvaccinated women are so stark that these adjustments are unlikely to change the findings, said Dr Stock and colleagues. .

They urged pregnant women to get vaccinated, echoing calls from health officials in the United States.

“The key we would like to convey is that the best way to protect mother and baby is vaccination as early as possible, and it can be done at any stage of pregnancy,” said Aziz Sheikh, researcher in population health. at the University of Edinburgh and another of the authors of the article.

“We have enough information to get the very strong message out about promoting vaccination during pregnancy now,” said Rachael Wood, public health medicine consultant at Public Health Scotland and a member of the study team. .

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