Introduction: In December 2019, a novel strain of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2), was declared as a cause of respiratory illness, called coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), characterized by fever and cough. In diagnostic imaging, the afflicted population showed pathognomonic findings of pneumonia. What started out as an epidemic in China, rapidly spread across geographical locations with a significant daily increase in the number of affected cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, the range of worldwide mortality is 3 to 4%. Maternal adaptations and immunological changes predispose pregnant women to a prolonged and severe form of pneumonia, which results in higher rates of maternal, fetal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality. There is limited data about the consequences of COVID-19 in pregnancy, thereby limiting the prevention, counseling, and management of these patients.
Methods: The objective of this literature review is to explore pregnancy and perinatal outcomes of COVID-19, complications, morbidity, and mortality in this sub-population. We conducted a literature review pertaining to COVID-19 and pregnancy in databases such as: PubMed, Google Scholar, and Science Direct. The studies we chose to focus on were systematic reviews, meta-analysis, case series, and case reports. Twenty four articles were reviewed regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy, complications and their outcomes. Due to immunological changes during pregnancy as evidenced by the flaring of auto-immune diseases; pregnant women may be at an increased risk for infection.
Results: Women (19.7%) who had underlying comorbidities such as gestational DM, HTN, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune disease, COPD, or HBV infection were considered high risk. The most common maternal outcomes were premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and pre-eclampsia. Asthma was the most common comorbidity associated with maternal mortality. The most common neonatal complications were fetal distress leading to NICU admissions and preterm birth.
Conclusion: Neonatal infections as demonstrated by positive RT-PCR were rare, but direct evidence supporting intrauterine transmission was not confirmed. Direct evidence indicating vertical transmission of COVID-19 is not available, but risk for transmission cannot be ruled out. Pregnant women should be closely monitored due to increased risk of adverse outcomes.
Keywords: COVID-19, Maternal, Neonates, Pregnancy, Pandemic and SARS-COV-2