Peripartum anesthetic management of women with SARS-CoV-2 infection in eight medical centers across three European countries: prospective cohort observation study

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2022 Dec;35(25):7756-7763. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2021.1937105. Epub 2021 Jun 9.


Objective: Several reports of obstetric anesthesia management have been published since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to collect high-quality broad and detailed data from different university medical centers in several European Society of Anesthesiologist countries.

Methods: This prospective observational survey was performed in eight medical centers in Spain, Israel and Portugal from 1st April to 31st July 2020. Institutional review board approval was received at each participating center. Inclusion criteria: all women with a positive test for COVID-19. Retrieved data included maternal, delivery, anesthetic, postpartum details, and neonatal outcomes. Descriptive data are presented, and outcomes were compared for women with versus without respiratory signs and symptoms.

Results: Women with respiratory symptoms (20/12.1%) had significantly higher mean (standard deviation) temperature (37.2 °C (0.8) versus 36.8 °C (0.6)), were older (34.1 (6.7) years versus 30.5 (6.6)) and had higher body mass index kg m-2 - (29.5 (7.5) versus 28.2 (5.1)). Women with respiratory symptoms delivered at a significantly earlier gestational age (50% < 37 weeks) with a 65% cesarean delivery rate (versus 22.1% in the group without respiratory symptoms) and 5-fold increased rate of emergency cesarean delivery, 30% performed under general anesthesia. A higher rate of intrauterine fetal death (3%) was observed than expected from the literature (0.2-0.3%) in developed countries. There was no evidence of viral vertical transmission.

Conclusion: Well-functioning neuraxial analgesia should be available to manage laboring women with respiratory symptoms, as there is a higher frequency of emergency cesarean delivery. We report a higher rate of undiagnosed parturient and intrauterine fetal death.

Keywords: Anesthesia; COVID-19; complications; infection; labor; pneumonia; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics*
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Pandemics
  • Peripartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Anesthetics