Severe COVID-19 during pregnancy in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

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INTRODUCTION: Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We aimed to explore maternal characteristics, pregnancy outcomes, vaccination status, and virus variants among pregnant women admitted to intensive care units (ICU) with severe COVID-19.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We identified pregnant women admitted to ICU in Sweden (n = 96), Norway (n = 31), and Denmark (n = 16) because of severe COVID-19, from national registers and clinical databases between March 2020 and February 2022 (Denmark), August 2022 (Sweden), or December 2022 (Norway). Their background characteristics, pregnancy outcome, and vaccination status were compared with all birthing women and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) test-positive pregnant women during the same time period. We calculated the number admitted to ICU per 10 000 birthing and per 1000 SARS-CoV-2 test-positive women during the Index, Alpha, Delta, and Omicron periods.

RESULTS: Women admitted to ICU had a higher mean body mass index, were more often of non-Scandinavian origin, had on average lower education and income levels, had a higher proportion of chronic and pregnancy-related conditions, delivered preterm, had neonates with low Apgar scores, and had more infants admitted to neonatal care, compared with all birthing and test-positive pregnant women. Of those admitted to ICU, only 7% had been vaccinated before admission. Overall, the highest proportion of women admitted to ICU per birthing was during the Delta period (4.1 per 10 000 birthing women). In Norway, the highest proportion admitted to ICU per test-positive pregnant women was during the Delta period (17.8 per 1000 test-positive), whereas the highest proportion of admitted per test-positive in Sweden and Denmark was seen during the Index period (15.4 and 8.9 per 1000 test-positive, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Admission to ICU because of COVID-19 in pregnancy was a rare event in the Scandinavian countries, but women who were unvaccinated, of non-Scandinavian origin, and with lower socio-economic status were at higher risk of admission to ICU. In addition, women admitted to ICU for COVID-19 had higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)681-689
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG).

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