Covid-19 Can Damage The Placenta Of Pregnant Women, Although It Is Rare

Researchers at the Hospital Clínic, Vall d’Hebron and Parc Taulí de Sabadell (Barcelona) have shown that covid-19 has the capacity to damage the placenta of pregnant women, although it is rare: in 4.5% of those infected, the virus infects this organ and fetal deaths that can be attributed to this affectation are only 2.5%.

Researchers have analyzed the placentas of about 200 pregnant women between 24 and 39 years old infected with the coronavirus, in a study led by Dr. Alfons Nadal, from the Pathological Anatomy Service of the Hospital Clínic and a member of the inflammatory and molecular pathology group. of solid tumors from the August Pi Sunyer Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBAPS).

Of the group studied, there were nine cases of placenta infected by SARS-CoV-2 (4.5%), in five of which there was intrauterine death of the fetus (2.5%).

The placenta is the first organ that is formed in fetal development and acts as the lungs, intestines, kidneys and liver of the fetus, obtaining oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood supply.

The study, published in the journal ‘Modern Pathology’, shows that infection of the placental tissue is accompanied by a characteristic lesion that consists of a necrosis of the trophoblast, a layer of cells that provides nutrients from the mother to the fetus inside the uterus. It also causes a collapse of the intervillous space, the part of the placenta occupied by maternal blood.

These damages cause the placenta to stop being spongy and cause an abnormal blood flow between the mother and the fetus in the uterus that can lead, in some cases, to the death of the latter.