Below is a summary of the research currently available regarding COVID-19 in maternity
The University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Los Angeles PRIORITY study, United States (SUMMARY, JOURNAL LINK)
A cohort study of 991 pregnant women in the US found that pregnant women with COVID-19 may present with prolonged symptoms that are slightly different to those experienced by non-pregnant COVID-19 patients.
- The majority of infected pregnant women have mild cases of COVID-19
- Pregnant women are less likely to experience fever as an early symptom
- Pregnant women are more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms for a longer period of time than the average patient (two months or longer)
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States (SUMMARY, JOURNAL LINK)
A case study of a preterm infant born to a COVID-19 positive mother suggests the infant contracted COVID-19 while still in the womb.
Samples of the baby’s placenta tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, as did the baby's nasal/throat swabs when tested 24 hours after birth.
University of Oxford INTERCOVID Study, United Kingdom (LINK)
A study of 427 pregnant women admitted to 194 UK hospitals suggests pregnant women are not at any higher risk from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women, and there is low risk of transmission from mother to baby in pregnancy or childbirth.
- Pregnant women are more at risk if they are of advanced age, have black/ethnic minority background, are overweight or obese, or have pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. diabetes and high blood pressure)
- The majority of pregnant women hospitalised for COVID-19 were in the third trimester of pregnancy
- 10% of the pregnant women in hospital required intensive care
- 2.5% of babies tested positive for the virus immediately after birth
- 5% of babies tested positive some time after birth
- 20% babies born to mothers hospitalised for COVID-19 were born prematurely and were admitted to a neonatal unit
Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan China (LINK)
A study of nine women with COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy did not appear to show worse symptoms than non-pregnant persons. All babies were born from C-section and tested negative for the virus.
Samples of amniotic fluid, cord blood, newborn throat swabs and breast milk samples tested negative for COVID-19.
Qingdao Women and Children’s Hospital, China (LINK)
A study of one pregnant woman with COVID-19 showed similar symptoms to non-pregnant persons. The fetus showed signs of normal development throughout the study.
Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University, Wuhan China (LINK)
A study of 15 pregnant women with COVID-19 pneumonia showed mild symptoms, with all achieving good recovery. All deliveries were successful, with no adverse infant outcomes.
Maternal and Child Health Hospital of Hubei Province, Union Hospital, Renmin Hospital, Tianmen First, People’s Hospital, Jingzhou Municipal Hospital and Child Health Hospital, and Pediatric Hospital affiliated with Fudan University, China (LINK)
A study of nine pregnant women with COVID-19 showed no cases of severe pneumonia or maternal death. There was one infant death. The 9 surviving newborns tested negative for COVID-19, but some experienced perinatal complications (i.e. complications immediately after birth). This included fetal distress (6 cases), premature birth (6 cases) and respiratory symptoms (7 cases).
The Second Affiliated Hospital and The Affiliated Infectious Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China (LINK)
One pregnant woman with COVID-19 had a normal 30-week ultrasound but the baby shortly started showing decreased fetal movement and decreased heart rate. An emergency C-section delivered a preterm infant who consistently tested negative for COVID-19 for the study period. Placenta, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, stomach juice and throat swab samples all tested negative.
Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan and the Central Hospital of Qianjiang City, Qianjiang, China (LINK)
16 pregnant women with COVID-19 were compared with 45 uninfected pregnant women. No significant differences were seen in pregnancy or birth outcomes (e.g. blood loss, birthweight, preterm birth, fetal distress). The 10 newborns who were tested were negative for COVID-19, although three were diagnosed with and successfully treated for bacterial pneumonia. Follow-up examinations after discharge from hospital showed all newborns were healthy.
Wuhan Children's Hospital, in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China (LINK)
33 babies born to women with COVID-19 were investigated for infection. Of the 33 babies, three were symptomatic for COVID-19. Consistent with other studies, clinical symptoms were mild and had favourable outcomes, with no reported deaths.