Association of SARS-CoV-2 Infection During Pregnancy with Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes


Importance: There are limited high-quality, population-level data about the effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on pregnancy using contemporaneous comparator cohorts.

Objectives: To describe maternal and perinatal outcomes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy and to assess variables associated with severe disease in the pregnant population.

Design, setting, and participants: CANCOVID-Preg is an observational surveillance program for SARS-CoV-2-affected pregnancies in Canada. This analysis presents exploratory, population-level data from 6 Canadian provinces for the period of March 1, 2020, to October 31, 2021. A total of 6012 pregnant persons with a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test result at any time in pregnancy (primarily due to symptomatic presentation) were included and compared with 2 contemporaneous groups including age-matched female individuals with SARS-CoV-2 and unaffected pregnant persons from the pandemic time period.

Exposure: SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy. Incident infections in pregnancy were reported to CANCOVID-Preg by participating provinces/territories.

Main outcomes and measures: Maternal and perinatal outcomes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as risk factors for severe disease (ie, disease requiring hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit/critical care unit, and/or oxygen therapy).

Results: Among 6012 pregnant individuals with SARS-CoV-2 in Canada (median age, 31 [IQR, 28-35] years), the greatest proportion of cases were diagnosed at 28 to 37 weeks’ gestation (35.7%). Non-White individuals were disproportionately represented. Being pregnant was associated with a significantly increased risk of SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalization compared with SARS-CoV-2 cases among all women aged 20 to 49 years in the general population of Canada (7.75% vs 2.93%; relative risk, 2.65 [95% CI, 2.41-2.88]) as well as an increased risk of intensive care unit/critical care unit admission (2.01% vs 0.37%; relative risk, 5.46 [95% CI, 4.50-6.53]). Increasing age, preexisting hypertension, and greater gestational age at diagnosis were significantly associated with worse maternal outcomes. The risk of preterm birth was significantly elevated among SARS-CoV-2-affected pregnancies (11.05% vs 6.76%; relative risk, 1.63 [95% CI, 1.52-1.76]), even in cases of milder disease not requiring hospitalization, compared with unaffected pregnancies during the same time period.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Deshayne Fell

    Affiliate Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Ann Sprague

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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