Examining the impact of trimester of diagnosis on COVID-19 disease progression in pregnancy

Rachel C. Schell, Devin A. Macias, W. Holt Garner, Alesha M. White, Donald D. McIntire, Jessica Pruszynski, Emily H. Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: COVID-19 infection is associated with increased morbidity in pregnancy and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Little is currently known about how the timing of infection during pregnancy affects these outcomes. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the effect of trimester of COVID-19 infection on disease progression and severity in pregnant patients. STUDY DESIGN: This was a prospective cohort study of pregnant patients diagnosed with COVID-19 infection who delivered at a single urban hospital. Universal testing for SARS-CoV-2 was performed at hospital admission and for symptomatic patients in inpatient, emergency department, and outpatient settings. Disease severity was defined as asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe, or critical on the basis of National Institutes of Health criteria. We evaluated disease progression from asymptomatic to symptomatic infection and from asymptomatic or mild infection to moderate, severe, or critical illness, and stratified by trimester of COVID-19 diagnosis. Primary outcomes included progression of COVID-19 disease severity and a composite obstetrical outcome, which included delivery at <37 weeks, preeclampsia with severe features, abruption, excess blood loss at delivery (>500 mL for vaginal or >1000 mL for cesarean delivery), and stillbirth. RESULTS: From March 18, 2020 to September 30, 2021, 1326 pregnant patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 and delivered at our institution, including 103 (8%) first-, 355 (27%) second-, and 868 (65%) third-trimester patients. First-trimester patients were older and had more medical comorbidities; 86% of patients in all trimesters were Hispanic. Among patients admitted within 14 days of a positive test, 3 of 18 (17%) first-trimester, 20 of 47 (43%) second-trimester, and 34 of 574 (6%) third-trimester patients were admitted for the indication of COVID-19 illness. Across all trimesters, 1195 (90%) of 1326 COVID-19 infections were asymptomatic or mild, and 45 (10%) of 436 initially asymptomatic patients developed symptoms. Of patients with asymptomatic or mild symptoms at diagnosis, 4 (4%) of 93 first-, 18 (5%) of 337 second-, and 49 (6%) of 836 third-trimester patients developed moderate, severe, or critical illness (P=.80). There was no significant difference in composite obstetrical outcome with respect to trimester of COVID-19 diagnosis (24% first-trimester, 28% second-trimester, 28% third-trimester patients; P=.69). CONCLUSION: Moderate, severe, or critical illness develops in almost 10% of pregnant patients. The frequency of COVID-19 disease progression in pregnancy does not differ by trimester of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100728
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • COVID-19 disease progression
  • COVID-19 in pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy
  • maternal morbidity
  • neonatal morbidity
  • pandemic
  • trimester of infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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