LONDON (REUTERS) – Pregnant women infected with Covid-19 and their newborn children face higher risks of complications than was previously known, a study by British scientists showed on Friday (April 23).
An infection of the new coronavirus in such newborns is associated with a threefold risk of severe medical complications, according to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications such as premature birth, high blood pressure with organ failure risk, the need for intensive care and possible death.
“Women with Covid-19 during pregnancy were over 50 per cent more likely to experience pregnancy complications compared with pregnant women unaffected by Covid-19,” said Dr Aris Papageorghiou, co-lead of the trial and a professor of fetal medicine at Oxford University.
The study was conducted in more than 2,100 pregnant women across 18 countries, where each woman affected by Covid-19 was compared with two non-infected women giving birth at the same time in the same hospital.
Findings from the study, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, also showed a delivery by caesarean section may be associated with an increased risk of virus infection in newborns.
However, breastfeeding does not seem to heighten the risks of babies contracting Covid-19 from their mothers, scientists said.