As Rolnik told the publication, “We decided to focus on delivery before 34 weeks rather than 37, because it’s much more clinically important because they are more premature and experience more adverse outcomes.” He added, “What we found was a 30 per cent reduction in preterm births in women who were pregnant during lockdown as compared to women who were pregnant before.”
According to the findings, 95 women in the lockdown group gave birth prematurely, compared with 130 women in the other group. There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of maternal age, smoking rates, region of birth or other notable concerns. It’s a fascinating discovery, but one medical professionals are still questioning. Even Rolnik suggests it’s unclear why pregnancy during lockdown appeared to be associated with lower preterm births. It’s hoped that further study can help researchers draw a conclusion on whether the reduction was positive, but currently Rolnik believes lockdown is having something of a protective effect.
“One of the theories is that women in lockdown were less stressed, not necessarily less stressed psychologically, but physically,” he said. “They may have had a lower workload due to restrictions, or been able to work from home.”
Rolnik added, “The other very interesting hypothesis is that people are getting fewer infections by common pathogens during lockdowns and public health measures, so less influenza for example. Other children not going to school also protects against these infections being brought into the home. Infections can be a reason that someone goes into early labour.”