Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19 and they only rose during the Delta variant wave, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed.
Reports published by the agency on Friday found the rate of pregnant women dying of COVID-19 during the period of time where the Delta variant was the nation’s dominant strain increased five-fold.
Pre-Delta, five out of every 1,000 pregnant women who contracted the virus during pregnancy died compared to a staggering 25 out of every 1,000 during the Delta period.
The researchers also found that pregnant women who were infected at time of birth were twice as likely to suffer a stillbirth.
Pregnant women were five times more likely to die from COVID-19 while the Delta variant was the dominant strain than they were in previous months of the pandemic
Pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19 when the give birth are twice as likely to suffer a stillbirth than uninfected women, a CDC report finds
The CDC team analyzed pregnancy death data from Mississippi from March 2020 to October 2021 for one their reports.
They found 15 deaths associated with Covid among pregnant women in the state during the 19 month period, out of 1,637 total infections recorded.
In the pre-Delta period, from March 2020 to June 2021, six deaths were reported among pregnant women – or five out of every 1,000 infections.
The number quickly ramped up during the Delta period, from July to October 2021, with nine deaths among pregnant women recorded – or 25 per every 1,000 infections.
Of the 15 women who died, 14 had an underlying medical condition that put them at even further risk of complications from the virus.
None of them were fully vaccinated, and only one was at least partially vaccinated.
Three died during their pregnancy, leading to two stillbirths and one spontaneous abortion.
Seven of the women required an emergency C-section operation in order for their unborn child to survive, and 12 women died shortly after giving birth.
Twelve of the women were either black or Hispanic, highlighting already disproportionate maternal mortality rates in the U.S.
A separate report published by the CDC of Friday afternoon investigated the rate of stillbirths suffered by pregnant women who were infected at the time of delivery.
The researchers gathered data from 1.2 million births nationwide from March 2020 to June 2021.
Stillbirths, when a baby is dead upon birth, are very rare, only occurring in 0.65 percent of women who are not infected with Covid.
Within the dataset, 21,653 women gave birth while infected with COVID-19.
Those women were twice as likely to suffer a stillbirth, with 273 – or 1.26 percent – of babies not surviving delivery.
They were more common in the Delta period, with 2.7 percent of women who gave birth while infected from July to September 2021 suffering a stillbirth – a four-fold increase over the 0.63 percent figure posted by uninfected women.
Researchers encourage more pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid the negative health outcomes in their findings. Currently, only 35% of pregnant women are fully vaccinated, well behind the national pace. Pictured: A pregnant woman in St Petersburg, Russia, receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine
Infected women who suffer from hypertension, an adverse cardiac event or required a ventilator due to Covid were most likely to have a still birth.
The researchers write that these data make vaccination against Covid even more important for pregnant women.
‘Implementing evidence-based COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination before or during pregnancy, is critical to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on stillbirths,’ researchers wrote.
Pregnant women are one of the least-vaccinated demographics in the United States, with only 35 percent being fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
For comparison, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated.