A multidisciplinary team of researchers has created a national registry to study how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their newborns.
“Pregnant women are generally considered healthy, but they are also a vulnerable group, and we currently have no data on COVID-19 in pregnancy,” coprincipal investigator Yalda Afshar, MD, PhD, an ob.gyn. at UCLA Health in Los Angeles, said in an interview.
“We expect this registry to provide data that will be critical in helping to improve care for pregnant women during this global pandemic,” Dr. Afshar, a fellow with UCLA Biodesign, stated in a news release.
The Pregnancy Coronavirus Outcomes Registry is enrolling pregnant women and those who have been pregnant or post partum within the past 6 weeks and who have either received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or are being evaluated for COVID-19.
Women are being recruited through their health care provider. A study coordinator contacts the participants by telephone. Women can also join the registry on their own without a referral by visiting the registry website.
The registry collects data on COVID-19 symptoms, clinical course, pregnancy, and neonatal outcomes and follows women from enrollment through the second and third trimesters and the postpartum period. The goal is to follow the mothers and babies for up to 1 year.
Hundreds of women already enrolled
Dr. Afshar noted that these kinds of registries often take months to design and to receive funding, but with COVID-19, “there was no time for that. We had to get it up and running ASAP.”
She said the team has been “blown away” by how quickly people have come forward to join the registry. Within 2 weeks of going live, the registry had enrolled more than 400 participants from across the United States. “At this rate, I think we will easily get 1,000 participants in a month or so,” Dr. Afshar said.
“With the global reach of this disease, the findings resulting from this work have the potential to impact millions of lives in an entire generation,” Johnese Spisso, CEO of UCLA Health, said in the news release.
Dr. Afshar noted that, although the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy remains unknown, history suggests the disease will make some pregnancies and deliveries more challenging. “We know that in previous outbreaks of the regular flu, for example, there have been more deaths and poorer outcomes among pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women.”
Dr. Afshar is overseeing the study with colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Francisco, where the registry data will be coordinated.
“In addition to gaining a better understanding of the course of the disease, we will investigate disease transmission to determine if it can be passed from a mother to her baby in utero and during the postpartum period, such as in breast milk,” UCSF’s Stephanie Gaw, MD, PhD, who is leading the biospecimen core of the study, said in the release.
Health care providers interested in more information about the registry may send an email to [email protected]. A YouTube video on the registry is also available.
Dr. Afshar disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.