Can Covid-19 cause miscarriage? Expert answers

Jan 16, 2022 12:40 PM IST

Covid can lead to various complications in pregnant women from miscarriage to stillbirth. All you need to know.

Covid-19 can cause a number of complications in pregnant women and early miscarriage could be one of them, according to an expert.

There is an increased risk of abortion in mothers with a positive test result of SARS-CoV-2(Unsplash)
There is an increased risk of abortion in mothers with a positive test result of SARS-CoV-2(Unsplash)

Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 20th week. Most miscarriages occur before the 12th week of pregnancy. Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage include vaginal spotting or bleeding, pain or cramping in your abdomen or lower back, and fluid or tissue passing from your vagina.

"Studies have shown that the SARS-Cov 2 virus binds to various organs in the body. This also includes expression of SARS Cov ACE2 protein in early placental tissue, hence, making the early pregnancy susceptible to the effects of Covid infection," Dr. Muskaan Chhabra, Consultant, Birla Fertility & IVF told HT Digital.

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She added that cytokine storm a complication associated with Covid-19 can also have a damaging effect on the fetal development and implanting embryo.

A report published in scientific journal PLOS One says that Covid could cause placental inflammation which may result in fetal growth retardation and induce abortion.

"There is an increased risk of abortion in mothers with a positive test result of SARS-CoV-2, which several case reports and case series have identified during the pandemic," read the report.

Pregnant women and risk of hospitalization due to Covid-19

According to research published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, expecting mothers are three times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 and the illness may be more severe compared to others.

The deadly virus may also cause birth-related complications in women who get infected near the end of the pregnancy.

"However, having said that, it is also important to note that recommendations regarding this are still evolving and even though small number of cases do exist, large scale studies are required to establish a connection between Covid 19 and miscarriages," says Dr Chhabra.

An article published in reputed medical journal The Lancet also discusses the indirect impact of Covid-19 on pregnant women due to pandemic-related restrictions.

"Pregnant women with Covid-19 have generally had good pregnancy outcomes. However, the indirect impacts of Covid-19 will be substantial, including increased rates of stillbirth, indirect effects of Covid-19 on perinatal outcomes are largely due to pandemic-related disruptions to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health care, and the effect of lockdown policies," read The Lancet report.

How pregnant women can take care in times of Covid-19

Expert says it's important to get yourself double-vaccinated and practice social distancing norms to avoid risk of Covid-19.

Healthy activities like exercise, walking, meditation are recommended which could help you keep stress at bay.

"Dietary and nutrition advice should be taken from your dietician during all three trimesters. Be mindful to follow a balanced diet and avoid junk foods. It is best to stay away from indulging in alcohol or smoking and try to get adequate sleep regularly," says Dr Chhabra.

She also adds that in case of any underlying chronic conditions, it is advisable to follow recommended treatments advised by the doctor.

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