UTMB part of NIH-funded study of how COVID-19 pandemic may impact pregnancy outcomes

GALVESTON, Texas – A team of researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, led by Dr. George Saade, are active partners in the National Institutes of Health’s newly launched study to learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnancy and post-partum care.

The study is conducted within UTMB and the other 11 health care sites across the U.S. that encompass the Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network. The network accounts for more than 160,000 deliveries each year, and the large and diverse sample allows researchers to generalize their study findings to the U.S. population.

“We will be collecting data on the outcomes of pregnancies during the COVID-19 pandemic, including pregnant women infected with COVID-19, and comparing the outcomes to those in women who delivered in the network before the pandemic,” said Saade, the UTMB Chief of Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine. “We will be able to study what happens to pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19, but we will also be able to determine if the pandemic has affected pregnancy outcomes in women who did not become infected because they may not be receiving the same care as before the pandemic.”

According to the NIH, researchers will analyze the medical records of up to 21,000 women to evaluate whether changes to health care delivery that were implemented as a result of the pandemic have led to higher rates of pregnancy-related complications and cesarean delivery. They also seek to determine the risk of pregnant women with COVID-19 infection transmitting the virus to their fetus. Newborns will be monitored and assessed until they are discharged from a hospital. The study will also track more than 1,500 pregnant women confirmed with COVID-19 infection, monitoring their health for six weeks after childbirth.