Clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy: living systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ 2020370 doi: (Published 01 September 2020)
Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3320

  1. John Allotey, senior research fellow in epidemiology and women’s health12,
  2. Elena Stallings, researcher34,
  3. Mercedes Bonet, medical officer5,
  4. Magnus Yap, medical student6,
  5. Shaunak Chatterjee, medical student6,
  6. Tania Kew, medical student6,
  7. Luke Debenham, medical student6,
  8. Anna Clavé Llavall, medical student6,
  9. Anushka Dixit, medical student6,
  10. Dengyi Zhou, medical student6,
  11. Rishab Balaji, medical student6,
  12. Siang Ing Lee, researcher1,
  13. Xiu Qiu, chief consultant of women’s health789,
  14. Mingyang Yuan, researcher17,
  15. Dyuti Coomar, research fellow1,
  16. Madelon van Wely, clinical epidemiologist10,
  17. Elizabeth van Leeuwen, medical specialist11,
  18. Elena Kostova, managing editor10,
  19. Heinke Kunst, senior lecturer and consultant in respiratory medicine1213,
  20. Asma Khalil, professor of obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine14,
  21. Simon Tiberi, infectious disease consultant1213,
  22. Vanessa Brizuela, doctor of public health5,
  23. Nathalie Broutet, medical officer5,
  24. Edna Kara, public health specialist3,
  25. Caron Rahn Kim, medical officer5,
  26. Anna Thorson, professor in global infectious disease epidemiology5,
  27. Olufemi T Oladapo, acting head of maternal and perinatal health unit5,
  28. Lynne Mofenson, paediatric infectious disease specialist15,
  29. Javier Zamora, senior lecturer in biostatistics3416,
  30. Shakila Thangaratinam, professor of maternal and perinatal health217,
  31. for PregCOV-19 Living Systematic Review Consortium

Author affiliations

  1. Correspondence to: S Thangaratinam (or @thangaratinam on Twitter)
  • Accepted 23 August 2020


Objective To determine the clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes in pregnant and recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19).

Design Living systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources Medline, Embase, Cochrane database, WHO COVID-19 database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang databases from 1 December 2019 to 26 June 2020, along with preprint servers, social media, and reference lists.

Study selection Cohort studies reporting the rates, clinical manifestations (symptoms, laboratory and radiological findings), risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes in pregnant and recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed covid-19.

Data extraction At least two researchers independently extracted the data and assessed study quality. Random effects meta-analysis was performed, with estimates pooled as odds ratios and proportions with 95% confidence intervals. All analyses will be updated regularly.

Results 77 studies were included. Overall, 10% (95% confidence interval 7% to14%; 28 studies, 11 432 women) of pregnant and recently pregnant women attending or admitted to hospital for any reason were diagnosed as having suspected or confirmed covid-19. The most common clinical manifestations of covid-19 in pregnancy were fever (40%) and cough (39%). Compared with non-pregnant women of reproductive age, pregnant and recently pregnant women with covid-19 were less likely to report symptoms of fever (odds ratio 0.43, 95% confidence interval 0.22 to 0.85; I2=74%; 5 studies; 80 521 women) and myalgia (0.48, 0.45 to 0.51; I2=0%; 3 studies; 80 409 women) and were more likely to need admission to an intensive care unit (1.62, 1.33 to 1.96; I2=0%) and invasive ventilation (1.88, 1.36 to 2.60; I2=0%; 4 studies, 91 606 women). 73 pregnant women (0.1%, 26 studies, 11 580 women) with confirmed covid-19 died from any cause. Increased maternal age (1.78, 1.25 to 2.55; I2=9%; 4 studies; 1058 women), high body mass index (2.38, 1.67 to 3.39; I2=0%; 3 studies; 877 women), chronic hypertension (2.0, 1.14 to 3.48; I2=0%; 2 studies; 858 women), and pre-existing diabetes (2.51, 1.31 to 4.80; I2=12%; 2 studies; 858 women) were associated with severe covid-19 in pregnancy. Pre-existing maternal comorbidity was a risk factor for admission to an intensive care unit (4.21, 1.06 to 16.72; I2=0%; 2 studies; 320 women) and invasive ventilation (4.48, 1.40 to 14.37; I2=0%; 2 studies; 313 women). Spontaneous preterm birth rate was 6% (95% confidence interval 3% to 9%; I2=55%; 10 studies; 870 women) in women with covid-19. The odds of any preterm birth (3.01, 95% confidence interval 1.16 to 7.85; I2=1%; 2 studies; 339 women) was high in pregnant women with covid-19 compared with those without the disease. A quarter of all neonates born to mothers with covid-19 were admitted to the neonatal unit (25%) and were at increased risk of admission (odds ratio 3.13, 95% confidence interval 2.05 to 4.78, I2=not estimable; 1 study, 1121 neonates) than those born to mothers without covid-19.

Conclusion Pregnant and recently pregnant women are less likely to manifest covid-19 related symptoms of fever and myalgia than non-pregnant women of reproductive age and are potentially more likely to need intensive care treatment for covid-19. Pre-existing comorbidities, high maternal age, and high body mass index seem to be risk factors for severe covid-19. Preterm birth rates are high in pregnant women with covid-19 than in pregnant women without the disease.

Systematic review registration PROSPERO CRD42020178076.

Readers’ note This article is a living systematic review that will be updated to reflect emerging evidence. Updates may occur for up to two years from the date of original publication.