Updated: August 08, 2020 10:26 PM
Created: August 08, 2020 06:18 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Newly released data is giving more insight on the impacts of COVID-19 on premature births.
In New Mexico, one out of every nine pregnancies result in premature births—which is slightly higher than worldwide rates. Some experts said that it has to do with substance abuse problems as well as access to quality care.
“The lack of women accessing prenatal care, so some problems that are discovered early can be treated,” said Dr. Susan Gray, with Lovelace Women’s Hospital. “I think that has something to do— we have, you know, a higher pre teenage pregnancy rate. Also, they tend to have shorter length pregnancies.”
Dr. Gray said when it comes to preemies; an infection is involved one third of the time.
“One of the thoughts was that pregnant women working, well because they were not at work, they are sitting down, lying down. They have more support from their family. They're not being exposed to other infectious diseases,” Gray said.
In other words, because the virus forces people to stay home, pregnant women haven’t been exposed to other diseases as much as they normally would.
“Published articles out of Denmark and Ireland where they've seen a pretty dramatic like 90% decrease in the smallest premature babies. The one’s under 28 weeks or so. It's not widespread. There’s anecdotal data from Australia and some other countries,” Dr. Gray said.
Lovelace and UNM said they’re not seeing a decrease in preemies, but Presbyterian Hospital is.
Although there’s not a clear reason why the U.S. hasn’t had as dramatic of a decrease in preemies compare to other countries, Dr. Gray said it could be because the U.S. isn’t handling COVID well.
“We're supposed to be staying at home, but I know when I'm out and about, I don't see a big decrease in people in stores and dining on patios,” she said.
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