Pathological examinations carried out immediately after birth gave evidence of insufficient blood flow from the mother to the fetus and blood clots in the placenta.
This could interfere with the role of the placenta in supplying oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream to the growing baby and removing waste products from the baby’s blood.
Despite the persecution of only 16 women, the authors said the study is the largest study of placental health in women to date who tested positive for Covid-1
“I don’t want to draw any comprehensive conclusions from a small study, but this preliminary insight into how Covid-19 could cause changes in the placenta has some pretty significant implications for pregnancy health,” said Miller, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
“We need to discuss whether we should change the way we monitor pregnant women now,” said Miller. This could be done by testing the placenta’s oxygenation during pregnancy and monitoring the growth of babies using ultrasound.
“Additional examinations and tests involve all possible risks that can lead to unexpected results,” said Jamieson, chair of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
“I don’t think we should jump the gun,” Jamieson added. “This study raises more questions than it answers. A look at the placenta helps us understand what’s going on in pregnancy, but I think we need to be careful what clinically means for the care of pregnant women with Covid-19 . “
No harm to the babies
While research on mothers’ infants infected with Covid-19 is just beginning, the virus does not appear to have “had a terrible impact on pregnancy as we have seen with some other viral infections,” said Jamieson.
The same was true for this new study, in which the newborns were “healthy, adult, beautifully normal babies,” Miller said, although blood flow was blocked and “many of the placentas were smaller than they should have been.”
However, placentas are built with an “enormous amount of redundancy,” Miller said. “Even if only half of it works, babies are often quite well.”
The lead author Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, agreed.
“Based on our limited data, there appear to be no negative results in live births,” said Goldstein.
Fourteen of the live births in the study were of legal age and weight and Apgar values. A child born alive was premature.
One patient had a miscarriage in the second trimester, but she “was asymptomatic, so we don’t know if the virus caused the miscarriage or not,” said Goldstein.
What should an expectant mother do?
Talk to your personal obstetrician and gynecologist about any concerns, experts said. Take the same precautions recommended for everyone: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, wear a mask when you go out.
“And then I think it’s a great time for pregnant women to ask family members to run errands, fill up their gasoline, and get groceries for them,” said Jamieson. “I think there are many good reasons to spoil pregnant women – and I think now is a better time than ever to ask and receive help for pregnant women.”
And don’t worry unnecessarily.
“There is growing evidence that pregnant women may not be more affected by Covid-19 than the rest of us we were worried about at the start of the pandemic,” said Jamieson.
“But Covid-19 is still a serious pregnancy illness that needs to be taken seriously and carefully examined.”