To describe the characteristics and birth outcomes of women with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection as community spread in New York City was detected in March 2020.
We performed a prospective cohort study of pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who gave birth from March 13 to April 12, 2020, identified at five New York City medical centers. Demographic and clinical data from delivery hospitalization records were collected, and follow-up was completed on April 20, 2020.
Among this cohort (241 women), using evolving criteria for testing, 61.4% of women were asymptomatic for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the time of admission. Throughout the delivery hospitalization, 26.5% of women met World Health Organization criteria for mild COVID-19, 26.1% for severe, and 5% for critical. Cesarean birth was the mode of delivery for 52.4% of women with severe and 91.7% with critical COVID-19. The singleton preterm birth rate was 14.6%. Admission to the intensive care unit was reported for 17 women (7.1%), and nine (3.7%) were intubated during their delivery hospitalization. There were no maternal deaths. Body mass index (BMI) 30 or higher was associated with COVID-19 severity (P=.001). Nearly all newborns tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection immediately after birth (97.5%).
During the first month of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in New York City and with evolving testing criteria, most women with laboratory-confirmed infection admitted for delivery did not have symptoms of COVID-19. Almost one third of women who were asymptomatic on admission became symptomatic during their delivery hospitalization. Obesity was associated with COVID-19 severity. Disease severity was associated with higher rates of cesarean and preterm birth.