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Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes in COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


Pregnant women, along with their unborn babies, are considered high-risk groups when it comes to the effects of COVID-19.

A systematic review of COVID-19 in pregnant women was conducted from December 2019 to June 2020. The findings are as follows:

  • Overall, 10% of pregnant women were diagnosed with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Although to a lesser degree when compared to unaffected pregnant women, the most common clinical manifestations of COVID-19 during pregnancy were fever (40%) and cough (39%). When those symptoms were present, the affected pregnant women were more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit and subjected to invasive ventilation, especially when pre-existing maternal comorbidity was present.
  • Increased maternal age, high body mass index, chronic hypertension, and pre-existing diabetes were associated with an increase in the severity of COVID-19.
  • The spontaneous preterm birth rate was 6% in women with COVID-19.
  • The odds of preterm birth in pregnant women with COVID-19 were high compared to those without the disease.
  • Twenty-five percent of all babies born to mothers with COVID-19 were admitted to the neonatal unit and were at increased risk of admission compared to those born to mothers without COVID-19.
The conclusion is that pregnant women were less likely to manifest the COVID-19-related symptoms of fever and myalgia than non-pregnant women. However, when these symptoms were manifested, pregnant women were potentially more likely to need intensive care treatment for COVID-19. Pre-existing comorbidities, high maternal age, and high body mass index were considered risk factors in relation to the severity of COVID-19. Preterm birth rates were higher in pregnant women with COVID-19 compared to pregnant women without the disease.


Luciana Aparecida Campos Baltatu, Ph.D.
College of Health Sciences
Abu Dhabi University


For more information:

BMJ 2020; 370 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3320 (Published 01 September 2020) Cite this as BMJ 2020;370:m3320

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