Edlow AG, Castro VM, Shook LL, Kaimal AJ, Perlis RH. Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 1 Year in Infants of Mothers Who Tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2 During Pregnancy. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Jun 1;5(6):e2215787. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.15787. PMID: 35679048; PMCID: PMC9185175.
Importance: Epidemiologic studies suggest maternal immune activation during pregnancy may be associated with neurodevelopmental effects in offspring.
Objective: To evaluate whether in utero exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is associated with risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in the first 12 months after birth.
Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective cohort study examined live offspring of all mothers who delivered between March and September 2020 at any of 6 Massachusetts hospitals across 2 health systems. Statistical analysis was performed from October to December 2021.
Exposures: Maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by a polymerase chain reaction test during pregnancy.
Main outcomes and measures: Neurodevelopmental disorders determined from International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) diagnostic codes over the first 12 months of life; sociodemographic and clinical features of mothers and offspring; all drawn from the electronic health record.
Results: The cohort included 7772 live births (7466 pregnancies, 96% singleton, 222 births to SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers), with mean (SD) maternal age of 32.9 (5.0) years; offspring were 9.9% Asian (772), 8.4% Black (656), and 69.0% White (5363); 15.1% (1134) were of Hispanic ethnicity. Preterm delivery was more likely among exposed mothers: 14.4% (32) vs 8.7% (654) (P = .003). Maternal SARS-CoV-2 positivity during pregnancy was associated with greater rate of neurodevelopmental diagnoses in unadjusted models (odds ratio [OR], 2.17 [95% CI, 1.24-3.79]; P = .006) as well as those adjusted for race, ethnicity, insurance status, offspring sex, maternal age, and preterm status (adjusted OR, 1.86 [95% CI, 1.03-3.36]; P = .04). Third-trimester infection was associated with effects of larger magnitude (adjusted OR, 2.34 [95% CI, 1.23-4.44]; P = .01).
Conclusions and relevance: This cohort study of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in utero found preliminary evidence that maternal SARS-CoV-2 may be associated with neurodevelopmental sequelae in some offspring. Prospective studies with longer follow-up duration will be required to exclude confounding and confirm these associations.