Southern states reporting increase in stillbirths due to COVID-19

A pregnant COVID-19 patient rests in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Idaho Gov. Brad Little activated the National Guard on Tuesday to assist state hospitals. (AP Photo/Kyle Green) (Kyle Green, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Health experts in southern states are reporting an uptick in stillbirths among women infected with COVID-19.

“We’re seeing the numbers more out of Mississippi and Alabama. In Florida it’s hard to get hard numbers on these types of occurrences,” said Dr. Tiffany Wells, OBGYN from Baptist Health.

Nationwide, stillbirth deaths in pregnant women appear low.

The CDC reported 266 pregnancies have been lost since the start of the pandemic.

Wells said more data is needed.

“We haven’t established true causation. Although when they reported on it out in Mississippi, they were relating the two things, the increase in the stillbirth rate and the increase in pregnant patients with COVID-19,” Wells said.

Mississippi has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Their state department of health reported 72 stillbirths among women with COVID-19 since the pandemic, more than doubling the expected average.

According to Wells, the vaccine is a viable option for pregnant women.

“The vaccine itself is going to help, number one, prevent a pregnant patient from getting infected. You don’t get the drop in blood pressure, and oxygenation and the inflammation that seems to be occurring in pregnant patients and could be causing this rate in stillbirths to increase,” she said.

As more research develops, health experts have confirmed it is not unusual for viruses to affect pregnancies.

The CDC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine all recommend pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.