The COVID-19 pandemic has hugely impacted global public health and economy. The COVID-19 has also shown potential impacts on maternal perinatal and neonatal outcomes. This systematic review aimed to summarize the evidence from existing systematic reviews about the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infections on maternal perinatal and neonatal outcomes. We searched Pub-Med, MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science in accordance with PRISMA guidelines, from 1 December 2019 to 7 July 2021, for published review studies that included case reports, primary studies, clinical practice guidelines, overviews, case-control studies, and observational studies. Systematic reviews that reported the plausibility of mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 (also known as vertical transmission), maternal perinatal and neonatal outcomes, and review studies that ad-dressed the effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy were also included. We identified 947 citations, of which 69 studies were included for further analysis. Most (> 70%) of the mother-to-child infection was likely due to environmental exposure, although a significant proportion (about 20%) was attributable to potential vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Further results of the review in-dicated that the mode of delivery of pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 could not increase or decrease the risk of infection for the newborns (outcomes), thereby emphasizing the significance of breastfeeding. The issue of maternal perinatal and neonatal outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection continues to worsen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, increasing maternal and neonatal mortality, stillbirth, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, and maternal depression. Based on this study, we observed increasing rates of cesarean delivery from mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also found that SARS-CoV-2 could be potentially transmitted vertically during the gestation period. However, more data are needed to further investigate and follow-up, especially with reports of newborns infected with SARS-CoV-2, in order to examine a possible long-term adverse effect.


This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Musa, S., Bello, U., Zhao, S., Abdullahi, Z., Lawan, M. & He, D. 2021, 'Vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2: a systematic review of systematic reviews', Viruses, 13(9), article no: 1877. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091877

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Last updated: 09 August 2022
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