New UW study released on COVID-19 impact on pregnant women

SEATTLE — A new study from the University of Washington Medicine is raising new concerns about pregnancy and COVID-19.

The study, published over the weekend, examined 140 pregnant women who got sick with COVID-19.

Researchers found the virus damages the placenta’s immune response to fight off further infections.

The lead researcher said their findings were a complete surprise.

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One theory from scientists suggests that if a pregnant mom gets COVID-19, the placenta becomes exhausted and then cannot fight a new viral infection as well as it could before.

Early in the pandemic, many had thought COVID-19 did not appear to harm the developing fetus because there were so few babies born with the infection. However, the latest study is changing those previous thoughts.

“We think that this is the tip of the iceberg and that there are many other pathways in the placenta that are also impaired after COVID-19. And we’re worried about the effect this can have on the fetus and the baby,” said Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UW Medicine.

Researchers said there aren’t any long-term studies of babies who were born to mothers who had COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, scientists said the study is an indication that they need to look more closely at the long-term effects.

Scientists also said that even with the mild variants, pregnant women need to take precautions to avoid contracting the virus because the risks could result in more serious impacts to babies.

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