THURSDAY, Aug. 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increases in pregnancy-related complications and maternal deaths during delivery hospitalization, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in JAMA Network Open.

Rose L. Molina, M.D., M.P.H., from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues assessed whether obstetric outcomes and pregnancy-related complications changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis included 849,544 pregnant patients in the prepandemic period (Jan. 1, 2019, to Feb. 28, 2020) and 805,324 pregnant patients in the COVID-19 pandemic period (March 1, 2020, to April 31, 2021).

The researchers found that maternal death during delivery hospitalization increased from 5.17 to 8.69 deaths per 100,000 pregnant patients. There were few changes observed for mode of delivery. There were decreases noted in length of stay during delivery hospitalization and increases seen in the risk of gestational hypertension, obstetric hemorrhage, preeclampsia, and preexisting chronic hypertension. However, the investigators found no significant changes in preexisting racial and ethnic disparities.

“The increase in maternal death during delivery hospitalization and pregnancy-related complications during the pandemic is alarming,” the authors write. “As the nation continues to face ongoing surges, it will be important to mitigate further pandemic-related disruptions on obstetric care and pregnancy outcomes.”

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