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Preeclampsia and severe maternal morbidity during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada


Objective — Significant changes to the delivery obstetrical care that occurred with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic may be associated with higher risks of adverse maternal outcomes. We evaluated preeclampsia/HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets) syndrome and composite severe maternal morbidity (SMM) among pregnant people who gave birth during the COVID-19 pandemic and compared these data with those of people who gave birth before the pandemic in Ontario, Canada.

Methods — This was a population-based, retrospective cohort study using linked administrative data sets from ICES. Data on pregnant people at ≥20 weeks gestation who gave birth between March 15, 2020, and September 30, 2021, were compared with those of pregnant people who gave birth within the same date range for the years 2015–2019. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess the effect of the pandemic period on the odds of preeclampsia/HELLP syndrome and composite SMM, adjusting for maternal baseline characteristics and comorbidities.

Results — There were no differences between the study periods in the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for preeclampsia/HELLP syndrome among primiparous (aOR 1.00; 95% CI 0.91–1.11) and multiparous (aOR 0.94; 95% CI 0.81–1.09) patients and no differences for composite SMM (primiparous, aOR 1.00; 95% CI 0.95–1.05; multiparous, aOR 1.01; 95% CI 0.95–1.08).

Conclusion — Adverse maternal outcomes were not higher among pregnant people who gave birth during the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada, when compared with those who gave birth before the pandemic.



Snelgrove JW, Simpson AN, Sutradhar R, Everett K, Liu N, Baxter NN. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2022; Apr 4 [Epub ahead of print].

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