Effect of COVID-19 pandemic process on prenatal diagnostic procedures

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2020 Sep 1;1-6. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2020.1815190. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the accessibility of pregnant women to prenatal screening and diagnostic tests during the COVID-19 pandemic process and analyze the effect of the pandemic process on acceptance-rejection rates of fetal diagnostic procedures for high risk pregnancies.

Materials and methods: As part of this cross-sectional study, during the pandemic, between the dates of 11 March 2020-30 June 2020 at Karadeniz Technical University Faculty of Medicine Perinatology Clinic, fetal structural anomaly detected by ultrasonography or with increased risk in screening test in the first and second trimester of high risk pregnancies, who were therefore recommended a prenatal diagnosis test, were defined as the control group and retrospectively compared with high risk pregnancies of the same periods (11 March 2019-30 June 2019) in the previous year.

Results: A total of 267 cases were evaluated within the scope of the study. The rate of pregnant women undergoing the first and second trimester screening tests was 83% in the control group and 56% for pregnant women in the study group. When the total number of prenatal diagnostic procedures and the year each of the procedures performed are compared, a statistically significant difference was found between the study and control groups (p: .041 and p < .001, respectively). When evaluating the rates of performed prenatal diagnostic procedures during the first patient visit in comparison to years, a statistically significant difference was observed in the A/S group and in the total number of cases (p = .023, p < .001, respectively). Similarly, the rate of performed prenatal diagnostic procedure during the first patient visit and the patient's city of residence was similarly statistically significant from year to year (p < .05).

Conclusions: The decrease in number of prenatal diagnosis and screening tests during the COVID-19 pandemic draws attention. Prenatal care services are a serious issue that cannot be overcome by any deficiencies in both maternal and fetal care.

Keywords: COVID-19; high-risk pregnancy; invasive procedure; pregnancy; prenatal diagnosis.