Irish health officials are investigating four stillbirths potentially linked to Covid-19.
Ireland’s deputy chief medical office Ronan Glynn said on Friday that officials were “made aware of four preliminary reports of stillbirths potentially associated with a condition called Covid placentitis”.
According to the coroners who reported the cases, the pregnant women tested positive for coronavirus and then gave birth to a stillborn baby whose cause of death was an infection of the placenta.
He cautioned that “further work needs to be done” before the findings can be confirmed.
“I can’t give too much detail because there’s not too much more detail to give at this point,” he said.
He said that Covid placentitis is “a concern” but still “very rare”.
“We have not seen a high incidence of it internationally, and we wouldn’t expect to see a high incidence of it here,” he said.
The UK Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists encouraged pregnant women who test positive for the virus to book an appointment with their doctor in the weeks after infection.
“The vast majority of pregnant women who had Covid had mild symptoms and have not had adverse outcomes. Large-scale surveillance data in UK have not shown higher incidence of stillbirth,” chairwoman Dr Cliona Murphy said.
“Pregnant women within the priority groups can get vaccinated. Data from the US regarding Covid vaccines in pregnancy is reassuring.”
Ireland has suffered 4,396 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, according to latest official figures.
The nation is in the middle of its third lockdown after suffering the highest rate of infection per capita in the world in early January.