Pregnant women who contract COVID are at a higher risk for complications, including preeclampsia and preterm birth.
COVID-19 increases the chances of preeclampsia in pregnant people , according to a new study. As such, those who are pregnant and contract the coronavirus have a higher chance of having high blood pressure that not only can put themselves in grave danger but can be a life-threatening condition for babies as well.
Researchers from the Sao Paulo Science Foundation (FAPESP) confirmed what other studies have to date, which is that when pregnant women contract COVID while pregnant, they are at a higher risk for developing preeclampsia, according to Medical Xpress . It also confirmed that along with preeclampsia, there is a greater risk that babies will be born prematurely when mothers are COVID-positive during pregnancy.
The study, which was published in the journal, Clinical Science discovered that when the ACE2 enzyme is altered, its ability to regulate blood pressure is inhibited. As such, because the coronavirus binds to ACE2 to invade the body, it, in turn, causes high blood pressure. And if left untreated can lead to preeclampsia.
Further still, according to the study , the ACE2 enzyme also regulates blood flow to the placenta. When COVID binds to the enzyme, the blood is not able to flow properly to the placenta and that puts the baby in danger of premature birth or worse.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk for contracting severe COVID symptoms than those who are not pregnant given that ACE2 is located in the lungs, kidneys, and heart, according to Agencia FAPESP . These organs are already being worked harder than usual as a result of being pregnant. Therefore, because they are not at their optimum strength levels, they are prone to coming under attack by viruses and bacteria given that the immune system is compromised by the pregnancy as well.
The original strain of COVID put pregnant women at a higher risk for complications than those who were not pregnant. With the Delta variant being the main cause of contagion currently, pregnant women are at more risk than ever. This is because the Delta strain is more contagious and causes more severe symptoms than the original strain, per CNN . And because less than a quarter of all pregnant women are vaccinated against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control , more and more expecting women are being admitted to hospitals.
Once in the hospitals, they are at a higher risk for being admitted to ICUs, being intubated, and even death, according to The Progressive Pulse . Some women are even being induced while babies are preterm to attempt to save both the babies and mothers.
With all of the studies to date that have shown how imperative it is for pregnant women to get the COVID vaccine, something is missing in which this information is not being adequately relayed to those who are expecting. And until that information is shared in a way that the gravity of being pregnant and contracting COVID sets in, unfortunately, more women and their unborn babies are going to be put at risk from this potentially deadly virus.