Pregnancy and postpartum outcomes in a universally tested population for SARS-CoV-2 in New York City: a prospective cohort study

BJOG. 2020 Nov;127(12):1548-1556. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.16403. Epub 2020 Aug 13.


Objective: To describe differences in outcomes between pregnant women with and without coronavirus dsease 2019 (COVID-19).

Design: Prospective cohort study of pregnant women consecutively admitted for delivery, and universally tested via nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. All infants of mothers with COVID-19 underwent SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Setting: Three New York City hospitals.

Population: Pregnant women >20 weeks of gestation admitted for delivery.

Methods: Data were stratified by SARS-CoV-2 result and symptomatic status, and were summarised using parametric and nonparametric tests.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence and outcomes of maternal COVID-19, obstetric outcomes, neonatal SARS-CoV-2, placental pathology.

Results: Of 675 women admitted for delivery, 10.4% were positive for SARS-CoV-2, of whom 78.6% were asymptomatic. We observed differences in sociodemographics and comorbidities among women with symptomatic COVID-10 versus asymptomatic COVID-19 versus no COVID-19. Caesarean delivery rates were 46.7% in symptomatic COVID-19, 45.5% in asymptomatic COVID-19 and 30.9% in women without COVID-19 (P = 0.044). Postpartum complications (fever, hypoxia, readmission) occurred in 12.9% of women with COVID-19 versus 4.5% of women without COVID-19 (P < 0.001). No woman required mechanical ventilation, and no maternal deaths occurred. Among 71 infants tested, none were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Placental pathology demonstrated increased frequency of fetal vascular malperfusion, indicative of thrombi in fetal vessels, in women with COVID-19 versus women without COVID-19 (48.3% versus 11.3%, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Among pregnant women with COVID-19 at delivery, we observed increased caesarean delivery rates and increased frequency of maternal complications in the postpartum period. Additionally, intraplacental thrombi may have maternal and fetal implications for COVID-19 remote from delivery.

Tweetable abstract: COVID-19 at delivery: more caesarean deliveries, postpartum complications and intraplacental thrombi.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; placental pathology; postpartum complications; pregnancy; vertical transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cesarean Section
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2