NIH Media Advisory
May 19, 2020
The National Institutes of Health has launched a multipronged study to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during and after pregnancy. Researchers will analyze the medical records of up to 21,000 women to evaluate whether changes to healthcare 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 establish 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 the hospital.
In addition, the study will track more than 1,500 pregnant women confirmed with COVID-19 infection, monitoring their health for six weeks after childbirth.
The study will be conducted by researchers in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network, a group of 12 U.S. clinical centers funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). MFMU Network sites cover more than 160,000 deliveries a year, and their racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity allows researchers to generalize their study findings to the U.S. population.
MFMU Network investigators plan to contribute data collected from the current study to a larger registry to help inform future studies of how COVID-19 affects maternal health and pregnancy.
NICHD Director Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., is available for comment.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all. For more information, visit https://www.nichd.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.