In December 2019, a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan, China, with an incredible contagion rate. However, the vertical transmission of COVID-19 is uncertain.
This is a systematic review of published studies concerning pregnant women with confirmed COVID-19 and their neonates.
We carried out a systematic search in multiple databases, including PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus, and WHO COVID-19 database using the following keywords: (Coronavirus) OR (novel coronavirus) OR (COVID-19) OR (COVID19) OR (COVID 19) OR (SARS-CoV2) OR (2019-nCoV)) and ((pregnancy) OR (pregnant) OR (vertical transmission) OR (neonate) OR (newborn) OR (placenta) OR (fetus) OR (Fetal)). The search took place in April 2020.
Original articles published in English were eligible if they included pregnant patients infected with COVID-19 and their newborns.
The outcomes of interest consisted of clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in pregnant patients with COVID-19 and also the effect of COVID-19 on neonatal and pregnancy outcomes.
37 articles involving 364 pregnant women with COVID-19 and 302 neonates were included. The vast majority of pregnant patients were in their third trimester of pregnancy, and only 45 cases were in the first or second trimester (12.4%). Most mothers described mild to moderate manifestations of COVID-19. Of 364 pregnant women, 25 were asymptomatic at the time of admission. The most common symptoms were fever (62.4%) and cough (45.3%). Two maternal deaths occurred. Some pregnant patients (12.1%) had a negative SARS-CoV-2 test but displayed clinical manifestations and abnormalities in computed tomography (CT) scan related to COVID-19. Twenty-two (6.0%) pregnant patients developed severe pneumonia. Two maternal deaths occurred from severe pneumonia and multiple organ dysfunction. Studies included a total of 302 neonates from mothers with COVID-19. Of the studies that provided data on the timing of birth, there were 65 (23.6%) preterm neonates. One baby was born dead from a mother who also died from COVID-19. Of the babies born alive from mothers with COVID-19, five newborns faced critical conditions, and two later died. A total of 219 neonates underwent nasopharyngeal specimen collection for SARS-CoV-2, of which 11 tested positive (5%). Seventeen studies examined samples of the placenta, breast milk, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid, and all tested negative except one amniotic fluid sample.
A systematic review of published studies confirm that the course of COVID-19 in pregnant women resembles that of other populations. However, there is not sufficient evidence to establish an idea that COVID-19 would not complicate pregnancy.