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Omicron Brings New Risks to Unvaccinated Pregnant Women

A study found that babies born to Women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy had shown reassuring patterns of growth and development at six-month follow-up. The research has been published in the ‘Journal of Perinatal Medicine.

Malika Shah, MD, a neonatologist at Lurie Children’s and Medical Director of the Prentice Women Hospital Newborn Nursery, as well as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the senior author of the study, said that the results should be reassuring to pregnant Women with COVID-19 who are worried about how the virus might affect the baby.

Omicron Brings New Risks to Unvaccinated Pregnant WomenShe added that at a 6-month follow-up, we observed standard growth patterns and developmental milestones, with the rate of developmental referrals not higher than what we usually see. This is excellent news during the pandemic that has been especially hard on populations facing health inequities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.The study included 33 publicly insured Women and their infants, all of whom identified as Latinx. While all Women had COVID-19 during pregnancy, 55% tested positive within ten days of delivery. None of the infants in the study tested positive for COVID-19.

Three of the infants were born premature, and five required neonatal intensive care for conditions unrelated to COVID-19.The study followed infants born April-July 2020 before COVID-19 vaccines were available and before the emergence of concerning variants. As the pandemic persists and variants emerge, looking at longer-term outcomes is critical. FQHCs have been at the forefront of delivering care to vulnerable populations since the beginning. Partnerships with FQHCs, like Erie Family Health Center, make it feasible to conduct these studies.

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