COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

Prognosis Papapanou M, Papaioannou M, Petta A, et al. Maternal and Neonatal Characteristics and Outcomes of COVID-19 in Pregnancy: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 12;18(2):596. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18020596.

(1) Background: A considerable number of systematic reviews, with substantial heterogeneity regarding their methods and included populations, on the impact of COVID-19 on infected pregnant women and their neonates, has emerged. The aim was to describe the obstetric-perinatal and neonatal outcome of infected pregnant women and their newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) Methods: Three bibliographical databases were searched (last search: September 10, 2020). Quality assessment was performed using the AMSTAR-2 tool. Primary outcomes included mode of delivery, preterm delivery/labor, premature rupture of membranes (PROM/pPROM) and abortions/miscarriages. Outcomes were mainly presented as ranges. A separate analysis, including only moderate and high-quality systematic reviews, was also conducted. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020214447); (3) Results: Thirty-nine reviews were analyzed. Reported rates, regarding both preterm and term gestations, varied between 52.3 and 95.8% for cesarean sections; 4.2-44.7% for vaginal deliveries; 14.3-63.8% specifically for preterm deliveries and 22.7-32.2% for preterm labor; 5.3-12.7% for PROM and 6.4-16.1% for pPROM. Maternal anxiety for potential fetal infection contributed to abortion decisions, while SARS-CoV-2-related miscarriages could not be excluded. Maternal ICU admission and mechanical ventilation rates were 3-28.5% and 1.4-12%, respectively. Maternal mortality rate was <2%, while stillbirth, neonatal ICU admission and mortality rates were <2.5%, 3.1-76.9% and <3%, respectively. Neonatal PCR positivity rates ranged between 1.6% and 10%. After accounting for quality of studies, ranges of our primary outcomes remained almost unchanged, while among our secondary outcomes, maternal ICU admission (3-10%) and mechanical ventilation rates (1.4-5.5%) were found to be relatively lower; (4) Conclusions: Increased rates of cesarean sections and preterm birth rates were found, with iatrogenic reasons potentially involved. In cases of symptomatic women with confirmed infection, high maternal and neonatal ICU admission rates should raise some concerns. The probability of vertical transmission cannot be excluded. Further original studies on women from all trimesters are warranted.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Pediatric Neonatology
Infectious Disease
Comments from MORE raters

Obstetrics rater

This adds to the large number of studies and reviews on the subject. Original data are missing a comparison group and several outcomes refer to clinician decision (e.g. cesarean section). The last included study is 6 months old, and, taking into account publication delays, this information regards the first months of the pandemic. It is also not stated how they treated the two level of clustering and the inclusion of the same studies in the various reviews.

Obstetrics rater

This is a useful article to understand the extent of the problem but wide confidence intervals and perhaps variable inclusion criteria in different studies makes counselling of patients based on this data difficult. Also the wide variability in Covid-19 outcomes across different parts of the world makes the data perhaps even more unreliable to be applied in a particular local area.