The effect of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection timing on birth outcomes: a retrospective multicentre cohort study.

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Publication Date


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Lancet Digit Health


washington; seattle; swedish; isb; covid-19; alaska; montana; oregon; california; kadlec; covid-19; Adult; COVID-19; Cohort Studies; Female; Gestational Age; Humans; Models, Statistical; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Infectious; Pregnancy Outcome; Pregnancy Trimesters; Premature Birth; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; SARS-CoV-2; United States


BACKGROUND: The impact of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated the risk of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on birth outcomes and how this is modulated by the pregnancy trimester in which the infection occurs. We also developed models to predict gestational age at delivery for people following a SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy.

METHODS: We did a retrospective cohort study of the impact of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on birth outcomes. We used clinical data from Providence St Joseph Health electronic health records for pregnant people who delivered in the USA at the Providence, Swedish, or Kadlec sites in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, or Washington. The SARS-CoV-2 positive cohort included people who had a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR-based test during pregnancy, subdivided by trimester of infection. No one in this cohort had been vaccinated for COVID-19 at time of infection. The SARS-CoV-2 negative cohort were people with at least one negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR-based test and no positive tests during pregnancy. Cohorts were matched on common covariates impacting birth outcomes, and univariate and multivariate analysis were done to investigate risk factors and predict outcomes. The primary outcome was gestational age at delivery with annotation of preterm birth classification. We trained multiple supervised learning models on 24 features of the SARS-CoV-2 positive cohort to evaluate performance and feature importance for each model and discuss the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on gestational age at delivery.

FINDINGS: Between March 5, 2020, and July 4, 2021, 73 666 pregnant people delivered, 18 335 of whom had at least one SARS-CoV-2 test during pregnancy before Feb 14, 2021. We observed 882 people infected with SARS-CoV-2 during their pregnancy (first trimester n=85; second trimester n=226; and third trimester n=571) and 19 769 people who have never tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and received at least one negative SARS-CoV-2 test during their pregnancy. SARS-CoV-2 infection indicated an increased risk of preterm delivery (p

INTERPRETATION: These results suggest that pregnant people would benefit from increased monitoring and enhanced prenatal care after first or second trimester SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of acute COVID-19 severity.

FUNDING: US National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children


Infectious Diseases




Obstetrics & Gynecology