ROI COVID-19 Study

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre (NPEC) in collaboration with the National Women and Infants Health Programme (NWIHP) and the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology (NCPPN) are creating a register of all pregnant women and newborns before 29 days of age who have been tested for the COVID-19 virus. 

For those pregnant women and newborns who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, a retrospective chart review will be conducted to capture the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 and outcomes.

COVID-19 Register

COVID-19 among pregnant women in March and April 2020.

Data sources:

Data on COVID-19 in pregnant women were submitted by 16 maternity units/hospitals.

Data on COVID-19 in the general population were extracted from the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Ireland Report prepared by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre on 2 May 2020.

Pregnant population:

Nationally, 60,000 women give birth each year. Therefore 45,000 women are pregnant in Ireland at any point in time (applying an average nine-month pregnancy). In 2019, 90.0% of the 60,000 women who gave birth in Ireland did so in one of the 16 maternity units/hospitals that have so far submitted COVID-19 test data. Thus, an estimated 40,500 pregnant women (90.0% of 45,000) were in the care of these 16 units in March-April 2020.

Notifications received by 12 May 2020 indicate that 495 pregnant women were tested in March-April 2020. Of these 495 women, 413 tested negative (83.4%), 70 tested positive (14.1%) and the test result was unknown for 12 women (2.4%). 

Based on the 70 positive tests, the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 infection in the estimated 40,500 pregnant women was 173 per 100,000 women.

General population:

There are an estimated 1,016,700 women aged 15-44 years in Ireland, according to the most recent population estimates from the Central Statistics Office (2019).

Up to midnight 30 April 2020, 57.8% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases were female and there were 8,229 cases aged 15-44 years. Applying 57.8% to this number, gives an estimate of 4,752 female cases of COVID-19 aged 15-44 years.

Based on this estimated 4,752 confirmed cases, the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 infection in women aged 15-44 years was 467 per 100,000 women.

Infection rate comparison:

The cumulative incidence of COVID-19 in the general population of women aged 15-44 years (467 per 100,000) is 2.7 times higher (95% confidence interval, 2.1-3.4; p-value<0.001) than in the pregnant population (173 per 100,000).

If you have any queries regarding the study please contact:


National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre

Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 5th Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork