Stillbirths, Pregnancy Complications Up During Pandemic

THURSDAY April 1, 2021 (HealthDayNews) – The ripple effect of the COVID-19 scourge has led to more complications among pregnant women around the world, including an increase in stillbirths, according to a new study.

The review of the research also found higher rates of maternal deaths and depression in the first year of the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on healthcare systems around the world. Disruption of services, nationwide lockdowns and fear of visiting health facilities mean the damaging effects of COVID-19 are expected to have health consequences that extend beyond the deaths and illnesses caused by the virus itself, ”said lead author Dr Asma Khalil, professor at St. George’s University in London.

Khalil’s team looked at 40 studies that included data on 6 million pregnancies in 17 countries. The studies, which assessed the collateral impact of the pandemic, were published between January 1, 2020 and January 8, 2021.

Overall, there was a 28% increase in the likelihood of stillbirth, which corresponds to the loss of the fetus after 20 weeks, and the risk of maternal death during pregnancy or childbirth increased by about a third.

In addition, there has been an almost six-fold increase in surgery for ectopic pregnancies (when the fertilized egg grows outside the uterus) during the pandemic. If discovered early, ectopic pregnancies are usually treated with medication. The increase in ectopic pregnancy surgery suggests that more women have delayed seeking care, the researchers say.

They also found an increase in depression and postpartum anxiety in mothers.

According to the study, pregnancy outcomes were worse in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. The results were published on March 31 in The Lancet Global Health.

The results show the need for immediate action to maintain safe pregnancy care around the world, especially during the pandemic, the researchers said.

“It is clear from our study and others that the disruption caused by the pandemic has led to preventable deaths of mothers and babies, especially in low and middle income countries,” Khalil said in a statement. Press. “We urge policymakers and health officials to prioritize safe, accessible and equitable maternity care as part of the strategic response to the pandemic and its consequences, in order to reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes in the world. world.

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Jothi Venkat

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