Impact of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 infection on fetal growth during pregnancy

Kavita Narang, Megan Miller, Charisse Trinidad, Myra Wick, Reagan Thieler, Amy L. Weaver, Ramila A. Mehta, Mauro Schenone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During pregnancy, certain viral infections are known to significantly affect fetal development. Data regarding the impact of COVID-19 viral infection in pregnancy, specifically in asymptomatic or mild cases, remains limited. This presents a challenge in providing prenatal counseling and antepartum surveillance in pregnancies complicated by COVID-19 infection. Placenta studies have demonstrated that vascular malperfusion patterns attributed to COVID-19 appear to depend on the timing of infection. Given these placental changes, we aim to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on fetal growth in pregnant patients with asymptomatic or mild disease, stratified by trimester of infection. We hypothesize that COVID-19 infection, especially early in pregnancy, increases the risk of fetal growth restriction (FGR). Study design. This is a single institution, retrospective cohort study of patients ages 16–55 years old with a singleton delivery between December 10, 2020, and April 19, 2021 who had not received a COVID-19 vaccination prior to delivery. COVID-19 infection during pregnancy was defined as a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test. FGR was defined as an estimated fetal weight less than the 10th percentile for gestational age or abdominal circumference less than the 10th percentile for gestational age. Maternal and fetal characteristics, including FGR, were compared between women with versus without COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. Results: Among 1971 women with a singleton delivery, 208 (10.6 %) had a prior asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. With the exception in the median prenatal BMI being significantly higher in the COVID-19 group (median, 27.5 vs 26.3, p = 0.04), there were no significant differences in demographics, baseline maternal comorbidities or gestational age between those with versus without COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, or in the proportion of their offspring with FGR (3.4 % (7/208) vs 4.8 % (84/1763), p = 0.36). When the 208 women were stratified by the timing of their COVID-19 infection, the proportion with an offspring with FGR was 8.7 % (2/23), 1.2 % (1/84), and 4.0 % (4/101), for those first diagnosed with COVID-19 during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters, respectively (p = 0.72 Cochran-Armitage test for trend). Conclusion: Asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 infection in pregnancy, regardless of timing of infection, does not appear to be associated with FGR. Routine serial fetal growth assessment may not be warranted solely for history of COVID-19 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-67
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Asymptomatic
  • COVID-19
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Mild disease
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Unvaccinated

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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