Research Highlights: COVID-19 in Pregnancy Linked To Maternal Morbidity/Mortality and Newborn Complications

COVID-19 in Pregnancy Linked To Maternal Morbidity/Mortality and Newborn Complications

April 26, 2021

  • Information about the association of COVID-19 with the outcomes in pregnant individuals compared with non-infected pregnant individuals is importantly needed.
  • Researchers evaluated the risks associated with COVID-19 in pregnancy on maternal and newborn outcomes.
  • Research study timeline: March to October 2020.
  • The study involved 43 institutions in 18 countries.
  • Every woman identified as infected, non-infected women were simultaneously enrolled immediately.
  • The women can be at any stage of pregnancy or delivery and had the same level of care to reduce bias.
  • The women and newborn individuals were followed up until discharge from the hospital.
  • Researchers determined morbidity and mortality as the primary outcome measures.
  • Total number of pregnant women with COVID-19: 706
  • Total number of pregnant women without COVID-19: 1424
  • Mean age: 30.2
  • 48.6% of women with COVID-19 became overweight early in pregnancy while 40.2% without COVID-19.
  • Women with COVID-19 were at higher risk for preeclampsia/eclampsia, severe infections, intensive care unit admission, maternal mortality, preterm birth, medically indicated-preterm birth, severe neonatal morbidity index, and severe perinatal morbidity and mortality index.
  • Shortness of breath and fever was associated with an increased risk of severe maternal complications and neonatal complications.
  • Asymptomatic COVID-19 women remained at higher risk only for maternal morbidity and preeclampsia.
  • For women who tested positive, 13% of their newborns tested positive.
  • Cesarean delivery, not breastfeeding, is likely to cause positive COVID-19 test results in newborn babies.
  • The results revealed that COVID-19 in pregnancy was linked with increases in severe maternal morbidity and mortality and newborn complications when COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 pregnant women were compared.
  • These findings should create awareness in pregnant women and clinicians to implement recommended COVID-19 preventive procedures.


Villar, J., Ariff, S., Gunier, R. B., Thiruvengadam, R., Rauch, S., Kholin, A., Roggero, P., Prefumo, F., do Vale, M. S., Cardona-Perez, J. A., Maiz, N., Cetin, I., Savasi, V., Deruelle, P., Easter, S. R., Sichitiu, J., Soto Conti, C. P., Ernawati, E., Mhatre, M., Teji, J. S., … Papageorghiou, A. T. (2021). Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Among Pregnant Women With and Without COVID-19 Infection: The INTERCOVID Multinational Cohort Study. JAMA pediatrics, 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.1050. Advance online publication.

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