COVID-19 and Pregnancy - Where Are We Now? A Review

J Perinat Med. 2020 Jun 25;48(5):428-434. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2020-0132.


The new acute respiratory disease severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is highly contagious. It has caused many deaths, despite a relatively low general case fatality rate (CFR). The most common early manifestations of infection are fever, cough, fatigue and myalgia. The diagnosis is based on the exposure history, clinical manifestation, laboratory test results, chest computed tomography (CT) findings and a positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The effect of SARS-CoV-2 on pregnancy is not already clear. There is no evidence that pregnant women are more susceptible than the general population. In the third trimester, COVID-19 can cause premature rupture of membranes, premature labour and fetal distress. There are no data on complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection before the third trimester. COVID-19 infection is an indication for delivery if necessary to improve maternal oxygenation. Decision on delivery mode should be individualised. Vertical transmission of coronavirus from the pregnant woman to the fetus has not been proven. As the virus is absent in breast milk, the experts encourage breastfeeding for neonatal acquisition of protective antibodies.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; delivery; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus* / isolation & purification
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections* / transmission
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Pandemics*
  • Perinatal Care / methods*
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / transmission
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / therapy

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2