A new large-scale study has revealed a significant increase in cases and deaths from severe maternal complications in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.
India is currently experiencing a devastating second wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections. In addition, national and regional lockdowns have restricted access to wider healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health services. Researchers from NPEU together with clinicians from India have found evidence that these disruptions have caused an increase in unsafe abortions, severe complications in pregnancy, and maternal death in India. The results are published today in EClinicalMedicine.
The study data came from 15 hospitals across five states in India, and included a total of 202,986 hospital births for the period December 2018 through to May 2021 (15 months pre-pandemic and 15 months during the pandemic). For each month, the researchers counted the number of cases and deaths from nine types of maternal complications (such as eclampsia and postpartum haemorrhage). In addition, monthly Government Response Stringency Index (GRSI) scores for India were used to measure how the strictness of restrictions imposed to control the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak affected hospital births, severe maternal complications and death.