According to a survey of data from 40 studies representing 17 countries published in The Lancet Global Health, pregnancy outcomes for mothers and babies have worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Judgments varied by country but analysis of combined data showed stillbirth and maternal mortality rates increased by nearly one-third during the pandemic compared to life before Covid-19 took a grip.
A review of the combined data found the chances of stillbirth increased by more than a quarter compared with pre-pandemic situations. Of the 40 studies, 12 reported on the occurrence of stillbirth. The survey covered two studies on the result of the pandemic on maternal death rates (one from India and one from Mexico). The risk of mothers dying during pregnancy or childbirth was risen by more than a third connected with before the pandemic. The Mexico study described the majority of these pregnancies.
Assistant Professor (Neonatology), Dr Jogender Kumar, PGIMER Chandigarh, who was not included in the study, reported to The Indian Express that rates of the unfavourable outcomes were much higher in low- and middle-income countries. “In resource-poor countries, even under normal circumstances, it is a challenge to provide adequate coverage for antenatal check-ups, obstetric emergencies, universal institutional deliveries, and respectful maternity care. The Covid-19 pandemic has widened this gap…,” he said.
“The current case fatality rate for Covid 19 in India is 1.3%, most of which are of the older age group. Covid-related direct death rate among pregnant women is like the general population. However, due to delay in seeking care, there are pregnancy related complications and therefore Covid-attributed death rate has increased. The unfortunate part is the unborn deaths (stillbirths) at the community level are not counted. There is an established reporting system for stillbirths at hospitals but not at the community level,” he said.