Preterm birth rates were slightly lower in Denmark during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the previous 4 years

Bo Mølholm Hansen*, Heidi Cueto, Jesper Padkaer Petersen, Gitte Zachariassen, Pia Sønderby Christensen, Morten Breindahl, Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel, Tine Brink Henriksen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Our aim was to investigate the rates of preterm births, live births and stillbirths in Denmark during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This was a national, cross-sectional registry-based study that used the Danish Newborn Quality database, which covers all births in Denmark. The proportions of preterm births were compared between the COVID-19 pandemic period of 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 and the preceding 4-year pre-pandemic period. Results: We studied 60 323 and 244 481 newborn infants from the pandemic and pre-pandemic periods, respectively. The proportion of preterm live births and stillbirths declined slightly, from 6.29% during the pre-pandemic period to 6.02% during the pandemic period. This corresponded to a relative risk (RR) of 0.96, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.93–0.99 during the pandemic. The RRs for extremely preterm, very preterm and moderately preterm infants were 0.88 (95% CI 0.76–1.02), 0.91 (95% CI 0.82–1.02) and 0.97 (95% CI 0.93–1.01), respectively. Conclusion: This comparative study showed a small reduction in just over 4%, from 6.29 to 6.02% in the proportion of all preterm births during the pandemic period, compared with the previous four pandemic-free years. There were no differences between subcategories of preterm births.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Volume111
Issue9
Pages (from-to)1695-1700
Number of pages6
ISSN0803-5253
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Denmark
  • pandemic
  • preterm infants
  • stillbirths

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