COVID disparities in pregnancy


Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Crowded homes, low income tied to higher risk of COVID-19 in pregnancy

Pregnant women living in low-income neighborhoods and homes that are crowded were more likely to contract COVID-19 during the pre-vaccination period of the pandemic, according to a study yesterday in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

To conduct the study, researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) used serum samples from 5,991 pregnant patients who gave birth at two hospitals in Philadelphia from Apr 13 to Dec 31, 2020. The investigators looked for antibodies indicative of a previous COVID-19 infection.

Participants also provided race address information, which the researchers geocoded with census data. The researchers classified neighborhoods using three criteria: community deprivation, determined by how many residents live below the federal poverty line; racial segregation of the neighborhood; and crowding, defined as more people than rooms in a home.

A total of 9.4% of women included in the study had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. Hispanic women had the highest prevalence (19.3%), followed by Black (14%) patients, with Asian (3.2%) and White (2.7%) patients having much lower rates.

Deprivation (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.32) and crowding (aOR, 1.15; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.26) were associated with increased rates of COVID-19, but racial segregation was not (aOR, 0.90; 95% CI 0.78 to 1.04).

“By now it is well understood that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanic and Black communities in the United States, and our study identifies potential factors that contribute to this phenomenon in pregnancy,” said Heather H Burris, MD, MPH, the first author of the study, in a CHOP press release.

May 5 Obstet Gynecol study
May 5 CHOP press release