Two new studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that pregnant women who contract COVID-19 have an increased risk of stillbirth and dying during childbirth. The two studies looked at over 1.2 million deliveries in the United States from March 2020 to September 2021.
One study showed that while stillbirths were rare, the rate for women with COVID-19 was one in 80, compared to one in 155 for women who did not have the virus. The study also found that the rate of stillbirths rose sharply around July 2021, when the Delta variant began to spread across the country.
A second study from Mississippi identified 15 women who had COVID-19 and died during childbirth and found that they all suffered from chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Health officials say the new reports provide more evidence that pregnant women should get vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the most recent data from the CDC, just over 35% of pregnant women in the U.S. are fully vaccinated.
"We have evidence to show there is no increased risk of miscarriage or poor pregnancy outcomes from the vaccine," said Dr. Zsakeba Henderson, deputy chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes, according to NBC News. "All evidence points to the safety of this vaccine."