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New research: Covid-19 vaccine does not damage the placenta in pregnant women

The safety of administering Covid-19 vaccines to women during pregnancy remains the subject of study.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 13, 2021 7:19:11 am
Pregnant women being examined and given food. (Express Photo)

A new study in pregnant women who received the Covid-19 vaccine found no evidence of injury in the placenta. The finding adds to growing literature that Covid-19 vaccines are safe in pregnancy. The study was published on Tuesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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The safety of administering Covid-19 vaccines to women during pregnancy remains the subject of study. While India’s vaccination protocol recommends against pregnant and lactating women taking the vaccine, some countries such as the US and Brazil does not bar such women.

The authors of the new study have said that to their knowledge, this was the first study to examine the impact of Covid-19 vaccines on the placenta, a key organ in pregnancy. The placenta is the first organ that forms during pregnancy. It performs duties for most of the foetus’s organs while they are still forming, such as providing oxygen while the lungs develop and nutrition while the gut is forming. Additionally, the placenta manages hormones and the immune system, and tells the mother’s body to welcome and nurture the foetus rather than reject it as a foreign intruder.

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“The placenta is like the black box in an airplane. If something goes wrong with a pregnancy, we usually see changes in the placenta that can help us figure out what happened. From what we can tell, the Covid vaccine does not damage the placenta,” corresponding author Dr Jeffery Goldstein is quoted as saying on the website of Northwestern University, where he is assistant professor of pathology.

In May 2020, the scientists had published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. That study found placentas of pregnant women who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus showed evidence of injury (abnormal blood flow between mother and baby in utero).

Then in April this year, the scientists published a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showing pregnant women make Covid antibodies after vaccination and successfully transfer them to their foetuses. The only way for the infants to get Covid antibodies is from their mother.

In the new study in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study authors collected placentas from 84 vaccinated patients and 116 unvaccinated patients who delivered at Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. They pathologically examined the placentas whole and microscopically following birth. Most patients received vaccines — either Moderna or Pfizer — during their third trimester.

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First published on: 13-05-2021 at 01:14:08 am
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