Scottish researchers reported that unvaccinated pregnant women with Covid are at a higher risk of developing severe complications and are more likely to miscarry or lose their child shortly after birth than their vaccinated counterparts
There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine and pregnancy, so let’s clear things up real fast: vaccines save lives and are completely safe for pregnant people to receive. The CDC has a whole FAQ on pregnancy and the Covid vaccine. Previous studies have shown that there are real risks for pregnant women who contract Covid. Still, for those who aren’t convinced, the data keep rolling in and confirming not only the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, but the very real and potentially fatal consequences of unvaccinated pregnant people contracting the virus.
On Jan. 13, Scottish researchers published a peer-reviewed study on SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19 vaccination rates in pregnant women in Scotland. The study found that the risk of stillbirth or losing the baby in the first month of life was highest among women who had their babies within four weeks of the beginning of a Covid infection: 22.6 deaths for every 1,000 births — four times the overall death rate in Scotland of 5.6 deaths per 1,000 births. The researchers also noted that all of the deaths occurred in pregnancies of unvaccinated women.
“Quite strikingly, no baby deaths occurred in women who had SARS-CoV-2 and were vaccinated,” said Dr. Sarah J. Stock, the paper’s first author, told New York Times.
The study also reported a higher rate of preterm birth among women diagnosed with Covid, especially if the mom-to-be contracted the virus within a month of the child’s birth
More than 16% of the pregnant women in the study who contracted Covid gave birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, compared to 8% among other women. Delivering a preemie baby already has its fair share of risks, such as breathing problems, heart issues, low body temperature, and feeding difficulties due to a lack of reflexes for sucking and swallowing, to name a few. It seems that contracting Covid while unvaccinated only compounds these complications, considering the doubled rate of preterm births in unvaccinated mothers.
Despite all of this knowledge of potential fatal illness or complications for their child, many pregnant people are still opting to avoid the Covid vaccine. This might have made more since when the vaccine was new and the side effects were not known, but study after study has shown that the vaccine is not only safe for pregnant women, but effective at protecting them and their unborn child against the virus.
According to the CDC, only 40% of pregnant people in the United States have been vaccinated against Covid, compared to roughly 63% of the general population, as of January 2022.