USA TODAY – A COVID-19 infection during pregnancy can leave an imprint on the fetus, according to a growing body of research, though it’s unclear whether that effect is long-lasting.
Two studies published last month show that the disease, particularly when it’s severe, can affect the immune activity at the time of birth and that boys may be affected differently than girls.
It’s far too early to know whether babies exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy will be any different from those born without that exposure, said Dr. Andrea Edlow, a maternal-medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who helped lead one of the studies.
Babies are very rarely born infected with COVID-19 and birth defects have fortunately not been associated with the disease, Edlow said.
She and the other researchers are still concerned about potential long-term impacts. “There’s a lot beyond birth defects and gross miscarriage that matters,” Edlow said …
“Pregnant moms need to get vaccinated.” – Dr. Alissa Erogbogbo, medical director of operations of the Ob Hospitalist Group
COVID-19 vaccines recommended
Instead of getting worried, the researchers said, the studies should be one more reason for pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Although studies have confirmed the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends them, vaccination rates remain low.
Less than one-third of pregnant people had been vaccinated by mid-September, and less than 16% of non-Hispanic Black people received shots.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends a booster dose for pregnant women six months after they complete their initial round of vaccinations.
Nearly 135,000 pregnant Americans have developed COVID-19 since the pandemic began, 23,000 have been hospitalized and more than 200 have died.
About 97% of pregnant people hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infections have been unvaccinated, according to unpublished figures from the CDC’s COVID-NET surveillance data.
It’s much more dangerous for the fetus to be exposed to the virus than to the vaccine, Edlow said. Vaccines have been better studied during pregnancy than treatments used to prevent severe illness and during hospitalization for COVID-19, such as monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir and steroids … READ MORE.