A growing number of pregnant women in Finland are being hospitalised after contracting the COVID- 19 virus, reports the Finnish News Agency (STT). This can be attributed to the recent surge in cases and the prevalence of the Delta variant in the country.
As a consequence, more babies are being delivered by emergency caesarean sections or C-sections. Since the pandemic began, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) has reported 50 pregnant patients who have been hospitalised with the virus and 20 in intensive care.
The majority of these have reportedly not been vaccinated against COVID- 19. Pregnancy increases the risk for severe illness from the virus in the same way that conditions like diabetes or obesity would.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), respiratory viral infections such as COVID- 19 are especially dangerous for expectant or nursing mothers owing to changes that occur in the body during pregnancy. Getting infected with the virus while pregnant also increases the risk of a premature birth.
HUS as well as the Tampere University Hospital (Tays) have had to conduct emergency C-sections due to severe illness caused by the virus. According to Outi Palomäki, senior consultant in obstetrics, gynecology and perinatology at Tays, a severe COVID-19 infection could also threaten the health of the fetus.
Expectant mothers have been hospitalised due to the virus in HUS, Tays and Turku; however, some hospital districts, such as Oulu and Kuopio, have not had any instances of severe COVID-19 infections in pregnant patients.