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BackgroundThere is a lack of population level data on risk factors, incidence and impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women and their babies. The primary aim of this study was to describe the incidence, characteristics and outcomes of hospitalized pregnant women with symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 in the UK compared to pregnant women without SARS-CoV-2.Methods and findingsWe conducted a national, prospective cohort study of all hospitalized pregnant women with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 from 01/03/2020 to 31/08/2020 using the UK Obstetric Surveillance System. Incidence rates were estimated using national maternity data. Overall, 1148 hospitalized women had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy, 63% of which were symptomatic. The estimated incidence of hospitalization with symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 was 2.0 per 1000 maternities (95% CI 1.9-2.2) and for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 was 1.2 per 1000 maternities (95% CI 1.1-1.4). Compared to pregnant women without SARS-CoV-2, women hospitalized with symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be overweight or obese (adjusted OR 1.86, (95% CI 1.39-2.48) and aOR 2.07 (1.53-2.29)), to be of Black, Asian or Other minority ethnic group (aOR 6.24, (3.93-9.90), aOR 4.36, (3.19-5.95) and aOR 12.95, (4.93-34.01)), and to have a relevant medical comorbidity (aOR 1.83 (1.32-2.54)). Hospitalized pregnant women with symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be admitted to intensive care (aOR 57.67, (7.80-426.70)) but the absolute risk of poor outcomes was low. Cesarean births and neonatal unit admission were increased regardless of symptom status (symptomatic aOR 2.60, (1.97-3.42) and aOR 3.08, (1.99-4.77); asymptomatic aOR 2.02, (1.52-2.70) and aOR 1.84, (1.12-3.03)). The risks of stillbirth or neonatal death were not significantly increased, regardless of symptom status.ConclusionsWe have identified factors that increase the risk of symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy. Clinicians can be reassured that the majority of women do not experience severe complications of SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Humans, Obesity, Pregnancy Outcome, Cesarean Section, Incidence, Odds Ratio, Cohort Studies, Prospective Studies, Carrier State, Pregnancy, Minority Groups, Databases, Factual, Adult, Pregnant Women, Intensive Care Units, Female, Young Adult, United Kingdom, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2