Covid can lead to stillbirth in rare cases: Rotterdam researchers

In rare cases, coronavirus infection in pregnant women can threaten the life of their unborn child, gynecologist Sam Schoenmakers from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam told Volkskrant. As of July this year, he and his fellow researchers have linked at least 13 stillbirths in the Randstad to placenta damaged by the coronavirus.

Earlier this year, Schoenmakers and colleagues examined the placentas of 36 women who contracted the coronavirus in the first wave. They found five placentals full of inflammatory cells and severely damaged. This disrupted the supply of nutrients and oxygen from mother to child. The coronavirus has been found in four of the five placentas.

They then checked the placentas of women who had had unexplained and unexpected stillbirths in the Randstad. As of July this year, researchers have linked the 13 stillbirths examined to crown-damaged placentas. Schoenmakers called this an incredible amount. “No other infectious disease has caused so many unborn baby deaths in such a short time in our region,” he told the newspaper.

According to Schoenmakers, the women involved had only minor symptoms of coronavirus, such as a runny nose. Some did not even know they had Covid-19, only finding out after an antibody test.

Schoenmakers stressed that more research is needed. The Dutch association of obstetrics and gynecology NVOG said in response that it advises all pregnant women to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

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