COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Infection in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review

Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2020;85(4):295-306. doi: 10.1159/000509290. Epub 2020 Jul 30.


Introduction: To review published studies related to the association of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections with pregnancy, foetal, and neonatal outcomes during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in a systematic manner.

Methods: A comprehensive electronic search was done through PubMed, Scopus, Medline, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar from December 01, 2019, to May 22, 2020, along with the reference list of all included studies. All cohort studies that reported on outcomes of COVID-19 during pregnancy were included. Qualitative assessment of included studies was performed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale.

Results: Upon admission, most pregnant women underwent a low-dose radiation CT scan; the reports of which included unilateral/bilateral pneumonia in most patients. A marked lymphopenia was also noted in many patients with COVID-19. 513 titles were screened, and 22 studies were included, which identified 156 pregnant women with COVID-19 and 108 neonatal outcomes. The most common maternal/foetal complications included intrauterine/foetal distress (14%) and premature rupture of membranes (8%). The neonatal clinical manifestations of COVID-19 commonly included shortness of breath (6%), gastrointestinal symptoms (4%), and fever (3%).

Conclusion: COVID-19 infection in pregnancy leads to increased risk in pregnancy complications such as preterm birth, PPROM, and may possibly lead to maternal death in rare cases. There is no evidence to support vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection to the unborn child. Due to a paucity of inconsistent data regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the newborn, caution should be undertaken to further investigate and monitor possible infection in the neonates born to COVID-19-infected mothers.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019; Foetus; Pregnancy; Preterm delivery; Vertical transmission.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / virology
  • Fever / virology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology
  • Premature Birth / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2

Supplementary concepts

  • Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes