COVID-19 can be fatal to fetuses of unvaccinated pregnant women - study

New study finds that unvaccinated pregnant women with COVID-19 are at a higher risk of a miscarriage or a stillbirth.

Pregnant woman (Illustrative) (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Pregnant woman (Illustrative)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Women who are expecting a baby but are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are at a higher risk of experiencing a stillbirth, according to a peer-reviewed study, published on Thursday in the journal Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

Increased risk to unvaccinated pregnant women

The study confirms that pregnant women can suffer from tissue destruction in the placenta while suffering from the virus if they are not vaccinated. The placenta essentially is what "unites the fetus to the maternal uterus," according to its definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Therefore, having COVID-19 during pregnancy leads to a higher chance of a miscarriage because the placenta would not be able to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.

Pregnant women, in general, are more susceptible to COVID, as pregnancy weakens the immune system, according to multiple studies.

A different study, however, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah-University Medical Center reported last November that getting vaccinated between 27-31 weeks and earlier of pregnancy will better protect the baby.

Regarding the multi-national study, it was comprised of 68 different COVID cases among a group of unvaccinated pregnant women, in addition to clinicopathological analysis by a multinational group of 44 perinatal specialists from 12 countries.

 A Palestinian student receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in Dura, in the West Bank city of Hebron, January 24, 2022.  (credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90) A Palestinian student receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in Dura, in the West Bank city of Hebron, January 24, 2022. (credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)

All those involved had autopsy pathology findings of a stillborn or a neonatal death - death which occurs within 28 days of the baby's birth -  as well as placentas that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 following positive diagnosis of the mothers with the virus. All 68 placentas, as well as 30 autopsies, were examined.

Researchers called the tissue destruction of the placenta "SARS-CoV-2 placentitis," in the study's findings, as the fetuses themselves carried by the women showed no abnormalities. The destruction itself had three stages: clotting in the organ’s vascular system by the fibrin protein, the cells' death in the placenta's protective cell layer, then the inflammation of the placenta itself.

The advantages to "vaccinated" newborn babies 

These findings come after many other studies were published in relation to pregnancy and the novel coronavirus, such as one published a few days earlier from the Massachusets General Hospital, where researchers confirmed that babies born of mothers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 have a higher antibody count than babies born of unvaccinated mothers.

Last November, the CDC reported that pregnant women infected with the Delta variant are at an increased risk of stillbirth or even dying during childbirth. 

Ben Zion Gad contributed to this report.