Reduction in premature births in Denmark and Ireland during pandemic, studies show

on 22 July 2020

Nationwide studies in Denmark and Ireland have found that premature births in the countries have decreased during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic nationwide lockdown.

The objective of the studies was to explore the impact of COVID-19 on premature babies born during lockdown.

In Denmark, there was a 90% decline in premature births during the pandemic lockdown when compared to the corresponding mean rate in the last five years.

In conclusion to the study it was unclear as to why this decline in premature births has occurred.

Researchers hypothesise that possible casual mechanisms that have stimulated changes to clinical practice could be the cause.

A total of 31,180 new born babies were included in the study, with 58 babies being born prematurely (gestational age below 28 weeks).

An abstract of the research can be found here.

In Ireland, research found there was a 73% decline in the number of premature births between January and April 2020 when compared to the same period in previous years.

The research abstract states: “Aetiology of preterm birth (PTB) is heterogeneous and preventive strategies remain elusive. Socio-environmental measures implemented as Ireland’s prudent response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) pandemic represented, in effect, a national lockdown and have possibly influenced the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and unborn infants.”

An abstract of the research for Ireland can be found here.

These articles are preprints and have not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.