Nov 19, 2021 - Health

Pregnant people with COVID face higher risk for stillbirths, CDC data show

Clinicians care for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on August 10, 2021 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Clinicians care for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on Aug. 10, 2021 in Louisiana. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pregnant people who are infected with COVID-19 face a greater risk of experiencing a stillbirth compared with uninfected people, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released on Friday show.

Driving the news: The data found that of the 8,154 stillbirths documented between March 2020 and September 2021, 1.26% of deliveries among people with COVID-19 resulted in stillbirth, compared to 0.65% of deliveries among uninfected individuals.

  • "These findings underscore the importance of COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination before or during pregnancy," the CDC wrote.
  • Among patients with COVID-19, stillbirths were more common in people with chronic high blood pressure and other complications, such as individuals in intensive care or on breathing machines, AP reports.

Of note: The risk for stillbirths increased this summer as the Delta variant became the predominant COVID-19 strain in the U.S.

  • Between July and September 2021, 2.7% of deliveries among people with COVID-19 resulted in a stillbirth, compared to 0.63% of deliveries without COVID-19, per the CDC.

The big picture: The CDC data explores more than 1.2 million births in 736 hospitals across the country from March 2020 to September 2021.

  • The analysis did not include information on the vaccination status of the pregnant individuals, but approximately 30% of pregnant people were vaccinated in the U.S. as of July 2021.

The bottom line: "This analysis adds to growing evidence of an association between COVID-19 in pregnancy and stillbirth, highlights that the risk for stillbirth associated with COVID-19 is affected by maternal morbidity, and demonstrates that the risk has increased during the Delta period," per the report.

Go deeper: CDC issues urgent advisory calling on pregnant people to get COVID vaccine

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