The impact of COVID-19 vaccinations on stillbirth rates among pregnant women in the Metro-Detroit area

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Journal of the National Medical Association


Infection by COVID-19 increases maternal morbidity and mortality prompting both the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine to strongly recommend vaccination during pregnancy. Limited data exist assessing the risk of intrauterine fetal death (IUFD) associated with COVID vaccination during pregnancy. This was a retrospective chart review at a large multisite hospital system in Metro Detroit which reviewed data from 13,368 pregnancies. We compared IUFD rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. The rate of stillbirths among unvaccinated women (0.75%) was not statistically different from those who were vaccinated (0.60%). Individuals with government insurance were less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to have IUFD in comparison to patients with private insurance. The rate of stillbirths among Black women was significantly higher than among White women at a rate of 1.1% compared to 0.53% (p=0.008) with no difference in stillbirth rates among vaccinated vs unvaccinated racial distribution. Lastly, it is worth noting that the overall vaccination rate at our healthcare system in pregnancy was very poor (0.26%). In conclusion, this is a large population of highly diverse patients which indicates that COVID-19 vaccination does not lead to IUFD. We plan to use this data to help drive an educational vaccination campaign to try to increase our COVID-19 vaccination rate in our pregnant patients. Systemic racism and social determinants of health have played a large factor in COVID-19 outcomes, and our data highlights that this is the case for IUFD in Black women. Improvements must be made to identify barriers for these women to allow for better pregnancy outcomes. We acknowledge that individuals with government insurance may also have other barriers to healthcare or face healthcare inequity which leaves room for improvement on getting these individuals vaccinated and getting the resources they need to have better pregnancy outcomes.

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ePub ahead of print