SARS-CoV-2 placentitis, and how maternal COVID-19 vaccination could prevent stillbirth

Oct. 24, 2022
Research spotlight. 

Drucilla J. Roberts, MD, from the Mass General Department of Pathology and colleagues recently published a literature review in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, titled SARS-CoV-2 Placentitis, Stillbirth and Maternal COVID-19 Vaccination: Clinical-Pathological Correlations. 

Stillbirth is a recognized complication of COVID-19 in pregnant women that has recently been demonstrated to be caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection of the placenta. 

This infection caused by the virus has been termed SARS-CoV-2 placentitis, and can negatively impact more than 75% of the placenta, effectively rendering it incapable of performing its function of providing oxygen to the fetus. 

To combat this occurrence, researchers wanted to know if vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 protects against stillbirth that is caused by SARS-COV-2 placentitis. 

In all reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 placentitis causing stillbirth and neonatal death, the mothers were unvaccinated. 

The development of SARS-CoV-2 likely involves both viral and immunological factors. 

Maternal COVID-19 vaccination may be life-saving for the fetus as well as the mother. 

After reviewing the relationship between stillbirth and vaccination of mothers, researchers have found that vaccination appears to protect against COVID-19 related stillbirth. 

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk for stillbirth compared to uninfected women, and those who vaccinate can more effectively prevent adverse conditions such as SARS-CoV-2 placentitis, infant death, preterm birth, and stillbirth. 

As far as clinical implications of this review, it is evident that pregnant people should be encouraged to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, to prevent adverse health events.  

Mass General release

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