Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on perinatal outcomes: a retrospective cohort study from Turkey

YALÇIN S. S. , BORAN P., Tezel B., Sahlar T. E. , ÖZDEMİR P., Keskinkilic B., ...More

BMC PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH, vol.22, no.1, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1186/s12884-021-04349-5
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Preterm birth, Mode of delivery, Birth weight, Pregnancy, Region, PRETERM BIRTH
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background Lockdowns, pregnant women's fear from hospitalization in addition to uncertainties about appropriate birthing practices at the beginning of the pandemic may have affected the health outcomes of mother-infant couples. We aimed to explore whether pregnancy outcomes including the rates of cesarean delivery (CS), preterm, and low birth weight (LBW) births have changed during the pandemic period compared with the pre-pandemic period. Methods We applied a population-based retrospective cohort, before-after approach in 2020 vs. similar calendar months in 2019 for five periods [Jan-Feb (pre-pandemic); March-May (1st wave and lockdown); June-August; September-October; November-December (2nd wave and lockdown)]. The data was modelled through multiple logistic regressions using key outcomes; CS, preterm, and LBW births as the dependent variables, and adjustments were made for independent variables in SPSS software. We evaluated the modification of years by periods by adding interaction term (yearXperiod) to the model. Results The rate of CS in hospital births increased from 57.7% in 2019 to 60.2% in 2020. CS rates were significantly increased during the 3rd and 4th periods. The overall preterm rate was 11%. When singleton pregnancies were considered, adjusted multivariable analyses showed a decrease in preterm proportions during all time periods with respect to the pre-pandemic period. The percentage of LBW was 7.7% during the pandemic period and was found to be significantly reduced compared to the pre-pandemic period. There was a significant reduction in LBW rates in all periods except the second lockdown period. Conclusions Our findings suggested significant reductions in preterm and LBW births possibly due to the indirect effects of the pandemic. Moreover, strategies need to be considered to address the increased CS rates and shifting of maternity service utilization to private facilities.