dcyphr | Risks of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Pregnancy; a Narrative Review
Daniel Amuedo

I am a premedical student at Missouri St...

Leanna Zelle

I am a pre medical student at Missouri S...


The outbreak of coronavirus has created concern for transmission from mother to fetus. Databases were searched for all relevant academic articles. A review of 13 final articles published has revealed that COVID-19 can cause fetal distress, miscarriage, respiratory distress, and preterm delivery. However, it does not infect newborns. There is no documented transmission from mother to baby. Pregnant women experience the same symptoms as non-pregnant women. It is important to document women before and after delivery to get more data.


Coronavirus continues to spread in nearly every country. At the time of this study the exact method of transmission is to be determined. It is now known that the virus travels in respiratory droplets like the flu. Viral pneumonia is the leading cause of pregnancy deaths worldwide. Since COVID-19 can cause pneumonia it is vital to understand how it may affect mothers.


This is a narrative review done on all relevant information. Various databases were searched using strategic keywords and phrases.


No original research on COVID-19 has been done on this subject. However, there were five case studies, and other correspondence, commentaries, or letters available.

Analysis of the reports

This report studied a total of 37 pregnant mothers and 38 newborns. The age range of mothers was 23-40. Of these, 29 had cesarean delivery and 8 had normal. Of the 37 mothers, 6 had preterm labor, 6 has premature rupture of the membrane, 2 had abnormal amniotic fluid, and 2 had abnormal umbilical cords. The most common finding is lymphocytopenia. Lymphocytopenia indicates a higher susceptibility to infection because the white blood cell count is low. All neonates with COVID-19 were infected after birth from the cough of the mother or other relative. The most common symptoms of infected neonates were tachypnea, milk regurgitation, vomiting, cough, fever, pneumothorax, liver disorders, and pulmonary changes in chest CT scans. Formula was fed to all neonates.


There is no original research exploring the transmission of COVID-19 from mother to fetus. According to the studies reviewed mothers should refrain from breastfeeding until they are confirmed to be non-infectious. Similarly, all neonates and mothers should be taken care of in isolated rooms to avoid transmission. Mothers with confirmed COVID-19 should be treated with antibiotics and antiviral drugs after childbirth.

Infection during pregnancy can cause complications for both the mother and the fetus. Infected newborns and mothers should be isolated. Due to lack of evidence researchers could not confirm transmission of COVID-19 infection from placenta, during delivery, or breast milk. Some research shows that neither cesarean or vaginal birth makes any difference in the possibility of infection. Generally, the review of available literature shows that there are less harmful effects of infection by SARS-CoV-2 than if by SARS-CoV-1. This study's results should be taken with precaution because the sample size was small. More research is needed.