CIESAL Researchers led an investigation entitled “Maternal and perinatal outcomes related to COVID-19 and pregnancy: overview of systematic reviews”. The article was published by Wiley in its journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, , a highly influential journal publication in the field of gynaecology and obstetrics.
Pregnant women have been the object of great concern during this pandemic since physiological changes in their immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems can increase the severity of respiratory diseases, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. The available evidence regarding the effect of other coronaviruses – such as SARS and MERS – although scarce, suggests that coronavirus infections during pregnancy are associated with adverse perinatal outcomes, higher rates of maternal and neonatal mortality and higher numbers of caesarean sections and premature births.
The work was carried out by a CIESAL team (Laura Vergara, Nicolás Meza, Javier Pérez-Bracchiglione, Eva Madrid and Cynthia Carrasco) together with Constanza Couve, from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Universidad de Valparaíso’s School of Medicine, Luis Ortiz, from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile’s School of Medicine, and Sandra Bohórquez from the Universidad de Jaén, Spain.
The study, which was praised and widely shared on social media for its methodological quality, looked at 1,132 references to COVID-19 and pregnancy, and included 52 systematic reviews that met inclusion criteria. The primary conclusion of the study – which was carried out between March and November 2020 – was that despite the great proliferation of publications on COVID and pregnancy, only one of the 52 systematic reviews had a low risk of bias, while the rest had a high risk of bias and a high degree of overlap in the primary studies that they covered.
The main conclusion of the study was that systematic reviews including better quality primary studies are required to guide future clinical decision-making and public policy regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy.