COVID-19 in pregnancy and the puerperium: A review for emergency physicians

Marina N. Boushra, Alex Koyfman, Brit Long

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel virus responsible for causing the novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). Objective: This article discusses the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in pregnant patients, the effects of pregnancy on the course of COVID-19 disease, and the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy outcomes. Discussion: The physiological and mechanical changes associated with pregnancy increase maternal susceptibility to infections and complicate intubation and mechanical ventilation. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in pregnant patients are cough and fever, although many infected individuals are asymptomatic. The majority of pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19 disease have a mild course of illness and will recover without needing to deliver, but the risks of critical illness and need for mechanical ventilation are increased compared to the general population. Risk factors for death and severe disease include obesity, diabetes, and maternal age > 40 years. Women in their third trimester have the highest risk for critical illness, intensive care unit admission, and need for mechanical ventilation. Adverse fetal outcomes of maternal COVID-19 infection include increased risk of miscarriage, prematurity, and fetal growth restriction. Vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is possible but has not been conclusively proven. Conclusions: COVID-19 is a potentially deadly infection, but data are limited concerning the pregnant population. Pregnant patients appear to present similarly to the general population, with fever and cough being the most reported symptoms in studies. Knowledge of these presentations and outcomes can assist clinicians caring for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Infectious disease
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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