New study finds COVID-19 increases risk of pre-term birth

A new study shows pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely than those without the virus to experience blood clots, high blood pressure and pre-term birth.

Published in a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study analyzed 400,000 women who gave birth in different countries between April and November. About 6,000 of the women had COVID-19.

Scientists found that 7.2% of pregnant women with COVID-19 had a pre-term birth compared to 5.8% of mothers without the coronavirus. And 8.8% of pregnant woman with the virus developed pre-eclampsia, a unique and emergent pregnancy-related blood pressure condition, compared to 6.8% of women without the virus.

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Although the risk of death was low in both groups, the difference in the risk between the two groups was statistically significant, meaning the outcome wasn't due to chance. However, the study noted that the deaths weren't necessarily directly from COVID-19 and respiratory failure. COVID-19 could have increased the risk for pre-eclampsia which can progress to eclampsia and death.

Overall, the research confirmed what many doctors have said throughout the pandemic: pregnant women are at a higher risk of complications if they do get COVID-19, which is why it's important for them to take extra precautions and to be monitored carefully.

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