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COVID-19 Infection May Increase Risk Of Preterm Birth, But Only When Infected In Final Trimester

However, COVID-19 infection during pregnancy was not found to be associated with any type of pregnancy loss.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : July 22, 2022 5:01 PM IST

Preterm birth is one of the most discussed COVID-19 related complications in pregnant women. Few studies have highlighted the association between SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy and an increased risk of preterm birth. But a new study has claimed the risk is only for women who gets COVID-19 in their final trimester.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi Research and Innovation Center and published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Hence, the authors recommended that women who are in their late pregnancy, particularly after 34 weeks of gestation, should distance and wear masks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

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COVID-19 during pregnancy not associated with pregnancy loss

For the study, the researchers compared pregnancy outcomes of 2,753 pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 with 2,753 expecting mothers without reported COVID-19 infections. Of the COVID-infected women, 17.4 per cent got the infection during the first trimester, 34.2 per cent during the second and 48.4 per cent during the third trimester.

They found no association between COVID-19 infection in the first and second trimesters and risk of preterm birth.

However, women who got COVID in their third trimester had 2.76 times higher risk of preterm birth, compared to non-infected women. The risk was even higher for women who infected after 34 weeks of gestation. They were over seven times more likely to experience preterm birth.

However, rates of caesarean sections and baby loss were similar in both infected women and non-infected groups.

However, the researchers noted that the study was conducted between February 21, 2020 and July 2, 2021, before the Omicron variant became dominant, and they only tested the COVID pre-Delta variants.

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