The National Institutes of Health has launched a multipronged study to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during and after pregnancy. Researchers will analyze the medical records of up to 21,000 women to evaluate whether changes to healthcare delivery that were implemented as a result of the pandemic have led to higher rates of pregnancy-related complications and cesarean delivery. They also seek to establish the risk of pregnant women with COVID-19 infection transmitting the virus to their fetus. Newborns will be monitored and assessed until they are discharged from the hospital.
In addition, the study will track more than 1,500 pregnant women confirmed with COVID-19 infection, monitoring their health for six weeks after childbirth.
The study will be conducted by researchers in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network, a group of 12 US clinical centers funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). MFMU Network sites cover more than 160,000 deliveries a year, and their racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity allows researchers to generalize their study findings to the US population.
MFMU Network investigators plan to contribute data collected from the current study to a larger registry to help inform future studies of how COVID-19 affects maternal health and pregnancy.