Pregnant women are potentially a high-risk population during infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, because of physiologic immune suppression in pregnancy. However, data on the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 among pregnant women, compared to nonpregnant women, are sparse and inconclusive. We sought to assess the impact of pregnancy on COVID-19 associated morbidity and mortality, with particular attention to the impact of pre-existing comorbidity.
We used retrospective data from January through June 2020 on female patients aged 18–44 years old utilizing the Cerner COVID-19 de-identified cohort. We used mixed-effects logistic and exponential regression models to evaluate the risk of hospitalization, maximum hospital length of stay (LOS), moderate ventilation, invasive ventilation, and death for pregnant women while adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, insurance, Elixhauser AHRQ weighted Comorbidity Index, diabetes history, medication, and accounting for clustering of results in similar zip-code regions.
Out of 22,493 female patients with associated COVID-19, 7.2% (n = 1609) were pregnant. Crude results indicate that pregnant women, compared to non-pregnant women, had higher rates of hospitalization (60.5% vs. 17.0%, P < 0.001), higher mean maximum LOS (0.15 day vs. 0.08 day, P < 0.001) among those who stayed < 1 day, lower mean maximum LOS (2.55 days vs. 3.32 days, P < 0.001) among those who stayed ≥1 day, and higher moderate ventilation use (1.7% vs. 0.7%, P < 0.001) but showed no significant differences in rates of invasive ventilation or death. After adjusting for potentially confounding variables, pregnant women, compared to non-pregnant women, saw higher odds in hospitalization (aOR: 12.26; 95% CI (10.69, 14.06)), moderate ventilation (aOR: 2.35; 95% CI (1.48, 3.74)), higher maximum LOS among those who stayed < 1 day, and lower maximum LOS among those who stayed ≥1 day. No significant associations were found with invasive ventilation or death. For moderate ventilation, differences were seen among age and race/ethnicity groups.
Among women with COVID-19 disease, pregnancy confers substantial additional risk of morbidity, but no difference in mortality. Knowing these variabilities in the risk is essential to inform decision-makers and guide clinical recommendations for the management of COVID-19 in pregnant women.