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COVID-19 During Pregnancy Increases Preeclampsia Risk

Preeclampsia and COVID-19: results from the INTERCOVID prospective longitudinal study

The INTERCOVID study was a large research study completed in October 2020 of over 2,000 pregnant women and their babies from 18 countries. The study enrolled both pregnant women who had and didn’t have COVID and followed them to see how they and their babies did, rather than just looking back at an old database. That study found that pregnant individuals with COVID-19 had an almost two-fold higher risk of preeclampsia, as well as other adverse outcomes including maternal mortality, severe infection, and preterm birth compared to pregnant individuals without COVID-19.

These authors used results from the INTERCOVID data to explore the independent link between COVID-19 during pregnancy and preeclampsia and its effects on the health of mothers and babies. Risk factors for preeclampsia (like obesity, pre-existing hypertension, and diabetes) were examined in each group (women with COVID-19 and women without), and outcomes were compared between pregnant women with COVID-19, with only preeclampsia, with COVID and preeclampsia, or with neither condition.

Results showed that COVID-19 during pregnancy was strongly associated with preeclampsia, independent of any risk factors or preexisting conditions. This was especially true in women who had never before given birth (nulliparous). Both COVID-19 and preeclampsia were associated with poor neonatal outcomes and adverse maternal outcomes. The severity of COVID-19 was not a factor in this association. 

Take home message: COVID-19 during pregnancy is strongly associated with preeclampsia. Women with preeclampsia are particularly vulnerable to the risks from COVID-19.

Link: https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(21)00561-5/fulltext

Research Roundup

Each quarter, our team of researchers reviews the most current studies related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and selects those studies they feel will be of greatest interest to our community to summarize.

Special thanks to our volunteer research team, who under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth Sutton, make Research Roundup possible: Alisse Hauspurg, MD Felicia LeMoine, MD Jenny Sones, PhD, DVM, and Robin Trupp, PhD, RN.

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