Pregnancy and risk of COVID-19: a Norwegian registry-linkage study

BJOG. 2022 Jan;129(1):101-109. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.16969. Epub 2021 Nov 1.


Objective: To compare the risk of acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and contact with specialist healthcare services for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) between pregnant and non-pregnant women.

Population or sample: All women ages 15-45 living in Norway on 1 March 2020 (n = 1 033 699).

Methods: We linked information from the national birth, patient, communicable diseases and education databases using unique national identifiers.

Main outcome measure: We estimated hazard ratios (HR) among pregnant compared to non-pregnant women of having a positive test for SARS-CoV-2, a diagnosis of COVID-19 in specialist healthcare, or hospitalisation with COVID-19 using Cox regression. Multivariable analyses adjusted for age, marital status, education, income, country of birth and underlying medical conditions.

Results: Pregnant women were not more likely to be tested for or to a have a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (adjusted HR 0.99; 95% CI 0.92-1.07). Pregnant women had higher risk of hospitalisation with COVID-19 (HR 4.70, 95% CI 3.51-6.30) and any type of specialist care for COVID-19 (HR 3.46, 95% CI 2.89-4.14). Pregnant women born outside Scandinavia were less likely to be tested, and at higher risk of a positive test (HR 2.37, 95% CI 2.51-8.87). Compared with pregnant Scandinavian-born women, pregnant women with minority background had a higher risk of hospitalisation with COVID-19 (HR 4.72, 95% CI 2.51-8.87).

Conclusion: Pregnant women were not more likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. Still, pregnant women with COVID-19, especially those born outside of Scandinavia, were more likely to be hospitalised.

Tweetable abstract: Pregnant women are at increased risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / etiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Young Adult