Effects of COVID-19 Infection during Pregnancy and Neonatal Prognosis: What Is the Evidence?

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 11;17(11):4176. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17114176.


Background: This study's aims are to assess the current evidence presented in the literature regarding the potential risks of COVID-19 infection among pregnant women and consequent fetal transmission.

Methods: a systematic literature review assessing papers published in the most comprehensive databases in the field of health intended to answer the question, "What are the effects of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, and what is the neonatal prognosis?"

Results: 49 papers published in 2020 were eligible, presenting low levels of evidence. A total of 755 pregnant women and 598 infants were assessed; more than half of pregnant women had C-sections (379/65%). Only 493 (82%) infants were tested for SARS-CoV-2, nine (2%) of whom tested positive. There is, however, no evidence of vertical transmission based on what has been assessed so far, considering there are knowledge gaps concerning the care provided during and after delivery, as well as a lack of suitable biological samples for testing SARS-CoV-2.

Conclusions: We cannot rule out potential worsening of the clinical conditions of pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2, whether the infection is associated with comorbidities or not, due to the occurrence of respiratory disorders, cardiac rhythm disturbances, and acid-base imbalance, among others. We recommend relentless monitoring of all pregnant women in addition to testing them before delivery or the first contact with newborns.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; fetal transmission; mother-to-child transmission; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • Cesarean Section
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2