COVID-19 linked to higher risk of stillbirth, CDC finds

Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 may be at an increased risk for stillbirth compared to women without the infection, a Nov. 19 CDC report found.

CDC researchers analyzed data on more than 1.2 million deliveries in the U.S. between March 2020 and September 2021. They analyzed stillbirth rates before and after the highly infectious delta variant became the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. 

Overall, stillbirths were rare and similar to levels seen before the pandemic. Just 0.64 percent of deliveries involving women without COVID-19 resulted in stillbirths, close to the prepandemic stillborn rate of 0.59 percent.

Among pregnant women with COVID-19, however, the stillbirth rate was slightly higher at 0.98 percent. Once the delta variant became dominant in the U.S. in July, the stillborn rate among women with the virus jumped to 2.7 percent. 

The analysis "demonstrates that the risk has increased during the Delta period," but more research is needed to "identify the biologic mechanism for the observed increased risk for stillbirth," the CDC said. 

"Implementing evidence-based COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination before or during pregnancy, is critical to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on stillbirths," the agency added.

View the full report here.


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