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Pandemic Not Tied to Changes in Preterm Births, Stillbirth Rates in Canada

No changes seen during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic versus the previous 17.5 years

TUESDAY, Aug. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — There was no unusual change in preterm birth or stillbirth rates in Canada in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Prakesh S. Shah, M.D., from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues evaluated variations in preterm birth and stillbirth rates before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada. The analysis included health administrative databases of 2,465,387 pregnancies resulting in birth in any hospital in Ontario between July 2002 and December 2020.

The researchers found that the mean preterm birth and stillbirth rates for the cohort were 7.96 and 0.56 percent, respectively. From January to December 2020, the preterm birth rate in Ontario was 7.87 percent, with no special cause variation, while the stillbirth rate was 0.53 percent, also with no special cause variation. Furthermore, there were no variations observed based on maternal residence location (rural or urban area, neighborhood income quintile, or living in a public health unit with high COVID-19 prevalence).

“We found no unusual changes in rates of preterm birth or stillbirth during the pandemic, which is reassuring,” Shah said in a statement.

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