Observational study on the neonatal outcome during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany

M Lau, V Kraus, A F Schulze, T K Rausch, M Krüger, W Göpel


AIM: We aimed to determine stillbirth, preterm birth, perinatal complications, and the developmental outcome of children born preterm during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.

METHODS: National data from the perinatal survey of preterm and term infants born in 2017-2020 between 22 March and 31 December were evaluated. Neurodevelopment of preterm infants at 2 years corrected age was tested with the Parent Report of Children's Abilities-Revised questionnaire and by clinical testing with Bayley scales, either before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistical significance was calculated using a Pearson's chi-square-independence test and a linear regression model.

RESULTS: In 2020, there was an increase of stillbirths of 0.02% (p = 0.01) and a decrease in preterm births by 0.38% (p < 0.001). No changes were found in a representative subgroup of infants with regard to neurodevelopmental scores (mental developmental index and psychomotor developmental index) or in parent survey data (non-verbal cognition scale and language development scale).

CONCLUSION: Increasing rates of stillbirths and decreasing preterm births in Germany were observed. Existing networks might stabilise neurodevelopment of preterm infants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1892-1897
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 09.2023


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