Pregnant women with COVID-19 face increased chances for stillbirths compared with uninfected women, and that risk spiked to four times higher after the delta variant emerged, new government data show.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Friday that examined 1.2 million deliveries in 736 hospitals nationwide from March 2020 through September 2021.
Stillbirths were rare overall, totaling 8,154 among all deliveries. But the researchers found that for women with COVID-19, about 1 in 80 deliveries resulted in stillbirth. Among the uninfected, it was 1 in 155.
Among those with COVID-19, stillbirths were more common in people with chronic high blood pressure and other complications, including those in intensive care or on breathing machines.
“These findings underscore the importance of COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination before or during pregnancy,’’ CDC researcher Carla DeSisto and co-authors said.
There’s no information on how many had received COVID-19 shots, although the authors noted that the U.S. vaccination rate among pregnant people after delta emerged this past summer was 30%.
Pregnant people with COVID-19 are more likely than others to develop severe, even fatal, illness and they face increased risks for preterm birth and other complications. Previous studies on stillbirths and COVID-19 had mixed findings, but the report bolsters concerns among obstetricians and anecdotal data.