Stillbirth rate rises dramatically during pandemic
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A slew of studies from around the world has reported a disturbing trend: since the coronavirus pandemic started, there has been a significant rise in the proportion of pregnancies ending in stillbirths, in which babies die in the womb. Researchers say that in some countries, pregnant women have received less care than they need because of lockdown restrictions and disruptions to health care. As a result, complications that can lead to stillbirths were probably missed, they say.

The largest study to report a rise in the stillbirth rate, based on data from more than 20,000 women who gave birth in 9 hospitals across Nepal, was published in The Lancet Global Health. It reported that stillbirths increased from 14 per 1,000 births before the country went into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus in late March, to 21 per 1,000 births by the end of May — a rise of 50%. The sharpest rise was observed during the first four weeks of the lockdown, under which people were allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and receive essential care.

Pregnant women might have been unable to travel to health facilities for lack of public transport; in some cases, antenatal appointments were reportedly cancelled. Others might have avoided hospitals for fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or had consultations by phone or Internet. Disruptions brought about by the pandemic have also been linked to a rise in deaths from heart disease and diabetes.

Source:https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02618-5
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