More risks to pregnant women, their newborns from COVID-19 than known before - study


FILE PHOTO: A pregnant woman receives a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, U.S., February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

(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.

An infection of the new coronavirus in such newborns is associated with a three-fold risk of severe medical complications, according to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford. (https://bit.ly/3tNwkJ7)

While pregnant women are at higher risk of complications such as premature birth, high blood pressure with organ failure risk, need for intensive care and possible death.

"Women with COVID-19 during pregnancy were over 50% more likely to experience pregnancy complications compared to pregnant women unaffected by COVID-19," said 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 to 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 risks of babies contracting COVID-19 from their mothers, scientists said.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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