Go to content

Mode of delivery and birth outcomes before and during COVID-19: a population-based study in Ontario, Canada


There is lack of clarity on whether pregnancies during COVID-19 resulted in poorer mode of delivery and birth outcomes in Ontario, Canada. We aimed to compare mode of delivery (C-section), birth (low birthweight, preterm birth, NICU admission), and health services use (HSU, hospitalizations, ED visits, physician visits) outcomes in pregnant Ontario women before and during COVID-19 (pandemic periods). We further stratified for pre-existing chronic diseases (asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, diabetes, hypertension). Deliveries before (Jun 2018-Feb 2020) and during (Jul 2020-Mar 2022) pandemic were from health administrative data. We used multivariable logistic regression analyses to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) of delivery and birth outcomes, and negative binomial regression for adjusted rate ratios (aRR) of HSU. We compared outcomes between pre-pandemic and pandemic periods. Possible interactions between study periods and covariates were also examined. 323,359 deliveries were included (50% during pandemic). One in 5 (18.3%) women who delivered during the pandemic had not received any COVID-19 vaccine, while one in 20 women (5.2%) lab-tested positive for COVID-19. The odds of C-section delivery during the pandemic was 9% higher (aOR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.08-1.11) than pre-pandemic. The odds of preterm birth and NICU admission were 15% (aOR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.82-0.87) and 10% lower (aOR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.88-0.92), respectively, during COVID-19. There was a 17% reduction in ED visits but a 16% increase in physician visits during the pandemic (aRR = 0.83, 95% CI: 0.81-0.84 and aRR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.16-1.17, respectively). These aORs and aRRs were significantly higher in women with pre-existing chronic conditions. During the pandemic, healthcare utilization, especially ED visits (aRR = 0.83), in pregnant women was lower compared to before. Ensuring ongoing prenatal care during the pandemic may reduce risks of adverse mode of delivery and the need for acute care during pregnancy.



To T, Zhu J, Terebessy E, Borkhoff CM, Gershon AS, Kendzerska T, Pakhale SS, Vozoris NT, Zhang K, Licskai C. PLoS One. 2024; 19(5):e0303175. Epub 2024 May 10.

View Source

Associated Sites