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Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and babies


June 25, 2020

-Dr. Darine El-Cha├ór,“Our findings will help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their babies and help us optimize care during pregnancy,” -Dr. Darine El-Chaâr,Very little is known about how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their babies. Drs. Darine El-Chaâr, Marc-André Langlois and their team plan to address this knowledge gap through several large studies. Dr Langlois’s team will be responsible of testing all the samples in their laboratory at the University of Ottawa. 

One study will determine the rate of COVID-19 infection in pregnant women, by testing every woman who delivers a baby at The Ottawa Hospital. Understanding this rate of infection will help inform care practices in maternal care centres, including universal testing. 

The team will also study whether a mother can pass COVID-19 to her child during pregnancy by testing maternal and newborn samples from  hospitals across Ontario. In addition, the researchers will collect detailed information from mother-baby pairs with a history of COVID-19 infection, to evaluate COVID-19 symptoms and their severity, complications, treatment strategy, transmission patterns and newborn management. 

These findings will inform care practices, and evidence-based counselling for families to help them maintain the health and safety of their newborns.

“Our findings will help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their babies and help us optimize care during pregnancy,” -Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, physician and clinician investigator at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

  • Research team at The Ottawa Hospital/uOttawa (co-investigators): Mark Walker, Malia Murphy, Katherine Muldoon, Bill Cameron, Michaeline McGuinty, David Millar, Jessica Dy, Angela Crawley, Shannon Bainbridge  
  • OMNI Research Group: Ruth Rennicks White, Alysha Dingwall-Harvey, Romina Fakhraei, Rosemary LaRose, Kathryn Denize
  • External collaborators (co-investigators): Dina El Demellawy, Deshayne Fell, Jason Brophy, Sarah Lawrence, Nisha Thampi (CHEO), Anne Sprague (CHEO/BORN), Susan Thorne (Queensway Carleton Hospital), Stephanie Palerme (Montfort Hospital), Laura Gaudet (Kingston Health Sciences Centre), Jon Barrett (Sunnybook), Howard Berger (St. Michael’s Hospital), Barbra de Vrijer (London Health Sciences Centre), André LaRoche (Humber River Hospital), Sarah McDonald (McMaster University), Elad Mei-Dan (North York General Hospital), John Snelgrove (Mount Sinai Services), Jocelyn Cook (SOGC),  Sheri Douglas, (Grand River Hospital)
  • Core Resources at The Ottawa Hospital: Clinical Research Lab, BORN Ontario, Monarch C19 Clinic
  • Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research 

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa. 

Media Contact 
Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73687
Cell: 613-297-8315
ambuchanan@ohri.ca