Pathological examinations completed immediately after birth indicate insufficient blood flow from the mother to the fetus and blood clots in the placenta.
It can interfere with the role of the placenta in delivering oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream to the growing child and removing waste products from the child’s blood.
Although only 16 women followed, the authors said the study is the largest study on the health of placenta in women who have tested positive for Covid-1
“I don’t want to draw conclusions from a small study, but this preliminary insight into how Covid-19 can cause changes in the placenta has some pretty significant consequences for pregnancy health,” said Miller, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“We need to discuss whether to change how we monitor pregnant women right now,” said Miller, who she said can be done by testing the delivery of the placenta during pregnancy and monitoring the growth of infants via ultrasound.
“There are all sorts of risks in doing additional screening and testing, which can result in unexpected results,” said Jamieson, chair of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
“I don’t think we should skip the gun,” Jamieson added. “This study raises more questions than it answers. Looking at the placenta will help us understand what’s going on during pregnancy, but I think we need to be careful about jumping to what it means clinically when it comes to caring for pregnant women with Covid-19 “.
No harm to the children
While research into infants born to mothers infected with Covid-19 is just beginning, the virus does not yet seem to create “tremendous pregnancy outcomes that we have seen with other viral infections,” Jamieson said.
The same was true in this new study, where the newborns were “healthy, full-time, beautifully normal children,” Miller said, though blood flow was blocked and “many of the placenta were smaller than they should have been.”
However, placemats are built with an “enormous amount of redundancy,” Miller said. “Although only half of it works, children are often perfectly fine.”
Senior author Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, agreed.
“It does not seem to induce negative results in live-born children, based on our limited data,” Goldstein said.
Fourteen of the live-born infants in the study were born all the time and with normal weights and Apgar points. A live born baby was premature.
One patient suffered a miscarriage in the second trimester, but she “was asymptomatic, so we don’t know if the virus caused the miscarriage or if it was unrelated,” Goldstein said.
What should a mom do?
Talk about problems with your personal pediatric gynecologist, experts said. Take the same precautions recommended for everyone: Wash your hands, do not touch your face, wear a mask when going out.
“And then I think it’s a good time for pregnant women to ask family members to send cases, refuel, get groceries for them,” Jamieson said. “I think there are a lot of good reasons to spoil pregnant women – and I think now is a better time than ever for pregnant women to ask and get help.”
And do not worry unnecessarily.
“There is increasing evidence that pregnant women cannot be more severely affected by Covid-19 than the rest of us, which we were worried about at the beginning of the pandemic,” Jamieson said.
“But Covid-19 is still a serious illness during pregnancy that needs to be taken seriously and studied carefully.”