All women at all stages of pregnancy should be offered Covid-19 vaccination because there is an increased risk of poorer outcomes for newborns and symptomatic women with Covid-19, a new study has recommended.

In the peer-reviewed study published on Sunday (Oct 10) in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, investigators looked at the records of more than 2,400 women who delivered at a hospital in Israel during the same time period to analyze how Covid-19 could affect obstetric outcomes depending on the symptom status “at or near term”.

“We found that Covid-19-positive parturients had higher rates of composite adverse outcomes than healthy parturients, with symptomatic women having higher rates of adverse outcomes than asymptomatic women,” the researchers said.

In the group of patients which included 172 Covid positive women (with 56 symptomatic) only one person needed mechanical ventilation. There were no maternal deaths.

Study lead Dr Elior Eliasi said that Covid-19 in the third trimester of pregnancy “has clinical implications, albeit at lower rates than expected once asymptomatic patients are taken into account.”

The analysis found that there was no significant increase in cesarean delivery in women, who were Covid-19 positive and the incidence of preterm deliveries was not significantly different among the three groups: healthy, Covid positive asymptomatic, Covid positive symptomatic.

‘Important to vaccinate all pregnant women’

“Our findings support the importance of vaccinating all pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy,” Dr Eliasi added.

The study looked at births at the monitored at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Israel between 26 March and 30 September 2020.

A total of 93 per cent of women admitted to the labour ward during this period were negative for Covid-19. Of the Covid-19-positive patients, 67 per cent were asymptomatic. On an average, increased risk of incidence of adverse outcomes was 13.8 per cent higher for asymptomatic Covid patients and 19.6 per cent higher for those who are symptomatic.

“Currently, we need more data to show the difference between the two more clearly. The results seen in a particular population may be related to various viral characteristics (subtypes, viral load), patient epigenetics, or other factors,” the authors say.

“Furthermore, the effects of maternal transmission on the foetation have not been further investigated in terms of both symptomatic maternal disease and vertical viral infection.”

The limitations of this study include being retroactive. Second, the sample contains a relatively healthy population admitted to a single community hospital.

“Therefore,” the authors state that through their findings, “not all populations can be generalized.”

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