Italy was one of the first countries violently affected by COVID-19.
The 3-month-lockdown (March – May 2020) was a necessary and effective measure, but it has determined a series of consequences, which changed the life of millions of people.
De Curtis and collaborators analyzed perinatal data of Lazio region related to the period March-May 2020 and compared them with the same period of 2019. The total numbers of all very preterm (< 32 weeks), late preterm (32 – 36 weeks), at term (37 – 41 weeks), late term (> 42 weeks), stillbirths and total births were determined in the lockdown period and in the same period of 2019.
Stillbirths increased by threefold. This dramatic number doesn’t seem to be a direct consequence of COVID-19 infection, but it is probably due to reduced visits to hospitals induced by the fear of contracting the infection.
An interesting result is related to the significant decrease of late preterm births. This could be due to the obliged rest at home during the lockdown period, the reduced physical activity and increased hygiene.
These data, although referred to a single Italian region (Lazio), are very interesting and suggest an increase in stillbirths (possibly due to women skipping visits during pregnancy) and a decrease in premature births (possibly as a result of forced rest due to the lockdown).
What about your country and/or your experience of pregnancy, prenatal visits and newborn(s) during the lockdown?
De Curtis et al., “Increase of stillbirth and decrease of late preterm infants during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown”, (2021), http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2020-320682
COVID-19 in Italy: https://covid19.who.int/region/euro/country/it
Italian Statistics (ISTAT): https://bit.ly/3ojMJoG