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In a large county health care system with access to inpatient and outpatient testing, is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection associated with pregnancy outcomes, maternal illness severity, placental pathology, and neonatal infections?
In this cohort study of 252 SARS-CoV-2–positive and 3122 negative pregnant women tested in outpatient and inpatient settings at a large county medical center, adverse pregnancy outcomes were similar, and neonatal infection occurred in 3% of infants, predominantly among infants born to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic women. Placental abnormalities were not associated with disease severity, and the rate of hospitalization was similar to rates among nonpregnant women.
These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy is not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Published data suggest that there are increased hospitalizations, placental abnormalities, and rare neonatal transmission among pregnant women with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
To evaluate adverse outcomes associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in pregnancy and to describe clinical management, disease progression, hospital admission, placental abnormalities, and neonatal outcomes.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This observational cohort study of maternal and neonatal outcomes among delivered women with and without SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy was conducted from March 18 through August 22, 2020, at Parkland Health and Hospital System (Dallas, Texas), a high-volume prenatal clinic system and public maternity hospital with widespread access to SARS-CoV-2 testing in outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient settings. Women were included if they were tested for SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy and delivered. For placental analysis, the pathologist was blinded to illness severity.
SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was a composite of preterm birth, preeclampsia with severe features, or cesarean delivery for abnormal fetal heart rate among women delivered after 20 weeks of gestation. Maternal illness severity, neonatal infection, and placental abnormalities were described.
From March 18 through August 22, 2020, 3374 pregnant women (mean [SD] age, 27.6  years) tested for SARS-CoV-2 were delivered, including 252 who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 3122 who tested negative. The cohort included 2520 Hispanic (75%), 619 Black (18%), and 125 White (4%) women. There were no differences in age, parity, body mass index, or diabetes among women with or without SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 positivity was more common among Hispanic women (230 [91%] positive vs 2290 [73%] negative; difference, 17.9%; 95% CI, 12.3%-23.5%; P < .001). There was no difference in the composite primary outcome (52 women [21%] vs 684 women [23%]; relative risk, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.73-1.21; P = .64). Early neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infection occurred in 6 of 188 tested infants (3%), primarily born to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic women. There were no placental pathologic differences by illness severity. Maternal illness at initial presentation was asymptomatic or mild in 239 women (95%), and 6 of those women (3%) developed severe or critical illness. Fourteen women (6%) were hospitalized for the indication of COVID-19.
Conclusions and Relevance
In a large, single-institution cohort study, SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy was not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Neonatal infection may be as high as 3% and may occur predominantly among asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic women. Placental abnormalities were not associated with disease severity, and hospitalization frequency was similar to rates among nonpregnant women.
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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.
Accepted for Publication: October 19, 2020.
Published: November 19, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.29256
Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2020 Adhikari EH et al. JAMA Network Open.
Corresponding Author: Emily H. Adhikari, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75390-9032 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Author Contributions: Dr Adhikari had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: Adhikari, McIntire, Spong.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Adhikari, MacDonald, McIntire, Spong.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Adhikari, Moreno, Zofkie, McIntire, Collins, Spong.
Statistical analysis: Adhikari, McIntire, Spong.
Administrative, technical, or material support: MacDonald, Collins, Spong.
Supervision: Adhikari, Spong.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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