Study shows increase in stillbirths and deaths of pregnant women during pandemic
The analysis highlighted the impact of disrupted healthcare systems on maternal health.
A study published in the Lancet Global Health journal has found that more pregnant women have died during the pandemic than in previous years.
The study - which analysed data from 17 countries and 40 studies - also found that there was an increase in stillbirths and other pregnancy complications over the past year.
While Covid-19 itself poses a risk to pregnant women, the researchers focused on pregnant women who were Covid-negative.
This allowed the researchers to focus on the collateral impact of the pandemic on pregnancy complications.
The analysis found that disruptions to healthcare systems combined with patients' reluctance to attend clinics over fears of infection may have lead to avoidable deaths of mothers and babies.
The data demonstrated that the chances of a stillbirth increased by 28 percent.
Additionally, in Mexico and India, the risk of a pregnant woman dying increased by a third.
The research demonstrated that the number of women requiring surgery for ectopic pregnancies increased sixfold.
Other studies showed that postpartum depression and anxiety also increased over the past year.
Meanwhile, in Ireland, a surge in home births has been linked to restrictions on hospital visits.
On Saturday, Denise Malone, a designated midwifery officer for the HSE, told the Irish Times that home births in the Dublin-Leinster region surged by 60%.
As it stands, partners of pregnant women are allowed to be present for delivery if they are Covid-negative. Professor Fergal Malone, the Master of the Rotunda Hospital also said that partners are able to attend the 20-week scan.
In December, the HSE designated partners as ‘essential accompanying persons’ for the 20-week scan.
How do they then automatically become unessential for the remainder of the scans and the majority of labour?#ButNotMaternity
— Holly Cairns TD (@HollyCairnsTD) April 3, 2021
Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns has called for more clarity surrounding maternity restrictions in Ireland.
The HSE introduced guidelines for partners in September. However, the majority of healthcare workers have been vaccinated since, and Cairns called for an update to reflect that change.