Racial Disparities and Risk for COVID-19 Among Pregnant Patients: Results from the Michigan Statewide Collaborative

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American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology


Objective Previous studies have looked at COVID-19 outcomes in pregnancy and racial disparities among patients with COVID-19, but few have studied racial disparities among pregnant patients with COVID-19. Our goal in this study is to analyze the relationship between race and disparate COVID-19 risk in pregnancy.

Study Design A retrospective cohort analysis was performed on data collected as part of the COVID-19 in Pregnancy and The Newborn: State of Michigan Collaborative, a database of pregnant patients admitted to 14 institutions in Southern Michigan. Cases were defined as patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. Controls, those with suspicion of COVID-19 prior to universal screening or a negative PCR test, were matched to cases on the same unit within 30 days of each case. For this analysis, the two primary groups of interest were non-Hispanic Black (Black) vs. non-Hispanic White (White) patients. Potential covariates were age, body mass index (BMI), chronic hypertension, diabetes, asthma, substance use, and smoking; the dependent variable was COVID/non-COVID in a robust Poisson regression model. In addition, 18 symptoms and disease severity (mild/moderate/severe) were compared between the Black and White groups using the same statistical method.

Results Of 1,131 gravidas, 42.9%(n=485) were Black. These patients were at two-fold greater risk for COVID-19 compared with their White counterparts [35.9% vs. 18.3%, RR=1.96(1.6-2.4)]. After adjusting for obesity and diabetes, the risk of COVID-19 in Black patients remained higher compared to the risk among White patients (aRR=2.46 [1.87-3.24]). There were no differences in symptoms nor severity of disease presentation between the groups.

Conclusion In our population, Black patients are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. This finding is not explained by a range of covariates. Other factors, such as social determinants of health, may be important to understand this disparity and warrant further examination.





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Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine 42nd Annual Pregnancy Meeting Abstract 281; 2022. Kissimmee, Florida, January 31-February 5, 2022. Abstract

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