Cases of COVID-19 are surging in the United States, particularly in the states that have low vaccination rates, and these areas may also be seeing a higher-than-normal number of stillbirth occurrences associated with the virus.
A US News report said while the number of stillbirths remains very low across the nation, doctors in the Deep South have noticed a rise in occurrences of the condition.
One of the states with an increasing stillbirth rate is Alabama. However, according to associate professor Dr. Akila Subramaniam, from the University of Alabama Bringham's Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the figures are very low in general to draw definitive conclusions on whether the COVID-19 cases increased stillbirths.
The associate professor told NBC News that everything they see with stillbirths is really anecdotal. More so, added Subramaniam, "We don't have the numbers" that confirm what they perceive that they're seeing.
Mississippi with the Highest Infant Mortality Rate in the US
What's known is that specifically in Mississippi, with already the highest infant mortality rate in the US, its health department detected 72 stillbirths in women who have been infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic.
During a news conference, the state's health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobb, said the number was double the number of stillbirths the state would usually see in that particular period. He added that quite a number of tragedies that regrettably would be preventable.
A similar Florida News Times report said, approximately 39 percent of people in this state have already been vaccinated, among the lowest inoculation rates in the country. Most of the women in stillbirth conditions had not been vaccinated, elaborated Dobbs.
Meanwhile, according to Subramaniam, the standard stillbirth rate is usually two percent at her facility, which treats pregnancies with higher risks, although the COVID-19-linked rate has ranged from three to six percent during this pandemic. The nationwide rate is one percent.
Loss of Over 260 Pregnancies to Stillbirth
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report specified the loss of more than 260 pregnancies to stillbirth since the onset of this global health crisis.
With the highly contagious Delta variant that strikes many younger adults, pregnant women are among the casualties. According to the CDC, over 118,260 COVID-19 cases in expectant individuals during this pandemic.
Additionally, intensive care doctors have seen a rise in severe cases among unvaccinated pregnant women in the past several weeks.
Since more pregnant people are seen falling ill, it is not surprising that unluckily, higher fetal losses and stillbirth rates are seen, explained Dr. Brenna Hughes, chief of Duke University Medical Center's Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Durham, NC.
The possible link between COVID-19 and stillbirths might be the impact of the virus on oxygen supply, suggested Dr. Hughes.
She also said if an individual cannot get adequate oxygen delivered to the baby, it increases the danger of bad things occurring in babies.
Other Conditions Pregnant Women with COVID-19 Experience During the Infection
The expert also explained that a pregnant woman's blood pressure might drop during a COVID-19 infection, making it impossible to get adequate blood flow to the baby.
Inflammation can result from severe COVID-19 cases, leading to the body generating nitric oxide, resulting in dangerously low blood pressure.
The American College of Obstetricians, the Gynecologists and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the CDC recommend that pregnant women get their COVID-19 vaccines, which have proven efficacy in pregnant women and their babies.
Related information about stillbirth in pregnant women with COVID-19 is shown on the University of South Australia's YouTube video below: