SARS-CoV-2 in pregnancy: characteristics and outcomes of hospitalized and non-hospitalized women due to COVID-19

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2020 Jul 20;1-7. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2020.1793320. Online ahead of print.


Background: There is little evidence about how novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) affects pregnant women and their newborns. Comparisons with other members of the coronavirus family responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have been done to predict maternal and neonatal outcomes; however, more information is required to establish clinical patterns, disease evolution and pregnancy prognosis in this group of patients.

Methods: This paper is reporting a series of 91 women diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy and puerperium. The analysis showed that 40 patients developed pneumonia, bilateral in most cases, with a 46.2% rate of hospitalization and 4 patients requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission. In confront with previous publications, we have found a higher rate of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) severe forms, even when compared to non-pregnant women with the same baseline characteristics. We have analyzed the demographic characteristics, pregnancy-related conditions and presenting symptoms to identify features that could determine which patients will need hospitalization because of COVID-19 (Group 1-G1) and those who not (Group 2-G2). We have found that obesity and Latin-American origin behave as risk factors: OR: 4.3; 95% CI: 1.4-13.2, and OR: 2.6; 95% CI: 1.1 - 6.2, respectively. Among the 23 patients that delivered with active SARS-CoV-2, the overall rate of cesarean section (CS) and preterm birth were 52.2% and 34.8%, respectively, but we observed that the rate of CS was even higher in G1 compared to G2: 81.8% versus 25%, p = .012. However, prematurity was equally distributed in both groups and only one preterm delivery was determined by poor maternal condition. There were no deaths among the patients neither their newborns.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the results of our cohort reveal that SARSC-CoV-2 infection may not behave as mild as suggested during pregnancy, especially when factors as obesity or Latin-American origin are present. No evidence of late vertical transmission was noticed but prematurity and high CS rate were common findings, although it is difficult to establish any causality between these conditions and COVID-19. Further evidence is required to establish if pregnancy itself can lead to severe forms of COVID-19 disease and whether risk factors for the general population are applicable to obstetric patients. Until larger studies are available, pregnant women should be monitored carefully to anticipate severe complications.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; pneumonia; pregnancy; risk factors; vertical transmission.