At the end of April, the Public Health Authority issued special advice to pregnant women. Women expecting children should not be exposed to the risk of becoming infected, as well as being extra cautious during the last month of pregnancy. 

"In these special circumstances, in a pandemic, we know very little about the effects of the virus circulating," says Lina Bergman, who leads the study together with colleague Verena Sengpiel, both obstetricians and researchers in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

A majority of Sweden's childbirth clinics participate in the study, which will examine, among other things, the health of pregnant women, the development of pregnancy and the fetus and the child's health in the first year of life.

Smaller studies point to risks

On the project's website, they write that newer data "could indicate that covid-19 presents a potential increased risk of growth inhibition in the child, premature delivery and increased risk of caesarean section."

- We do not have any clear data indicating that pregnant women would be a strong risk group, but there are smaller studies - which of course have come out quickly and can be disproved - which have hinted, for example, that there may be a risk that the child was born too early, and that the woman may be sicker than a woman of the same age who is not ill.

Lina Bergman emphasizes that the studies so far done on covid-19 are very small and that the results may have different explanations.

Healthy pregnant women are also included

In the Swedish study, both pregnant women with confirmed covid-19 and pregnant women without symptoms should be studied to detect any asymptomatic infection. This means that a large proportion of the country's pregnant women can be included in the study.

The research group will have extra control over people with other risk factors.

- As the virus has behaved in the general population, there are certain risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, age. We are particularly interested in seeing how women who have a different risk factor can cope with such an infection. 

In the first stage, 1200 births will be analyzed. The extent of the study in the long term depends on the development of the corona pandemic.