The Covid-19 pandemic is having the collateral effect of aggravating other diseases due to the reluctance of patients to go to hospital emergencies for fear of being infected with the coronavirus.
The increases in mortality due to myocardial infarction and the alteration in the acute care of stroke patients have been widely discussed, but another more unknown consequence is the alarming increase in stillbirths that are being registered all over the planet.
This week, the scientific journal Nature published an article in which he dealt with this circumstance, attributed by researchers in the matter to the fact that pregnant women are receiving less medical care than they should because of the lockdowns and the malfunctioning of health systems.
The largest scientific study conducted to date on this matter was published in the magazine Lancet in August and involved the analysis of data from 21,763 women who gave birth in nine hospitals in Nepal between January and May.
The research, led by epidemiologist Ashish KC, from Uppsala University, Sweden, showed that Births of deceased babies had increased by 50% between March and May, with a particularly strong increase during the months of great global lockdown.
“The reduction in the use of health facilities began weeks before the start of the confinement, possibly indicating a growing fear of contagion of the disease, which could have prevented women from going to medical centers,” the researchers point out in the article , who consider that the high number of recorded birth complications could have been due to delays in going to the doctor.
Nepal is logically a case not assimilable to richer countries, due to its deficient health system, but this increase in stillbirths is not a circumstance that has been restricted to developing countries.
“What we’ve done is accidentally cause an increase in stillbirths by trying to protect pregnant women from Covid-19,” Jane Warland, an obstetrician at the University of South Australia, told Nature in the city of Adelaide.
In July, another study published in JAMA Network demonstrated this same trend during the pandemic in the United Kingdom, specifically at St George’s Hospital in London, wheres cases practically quadrupled between February and June compared to the previous three months.
It is, in any case, a phenomenon that has not yet been studied and on which new research will be required to confirm it and to give a more accurate explanation of its causes.