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      The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and perinatal health: a scoping review

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          The Covid-19 pandemic affects maternal health both directly and indirectly, and direct and indirect effects are intertwined. To provide a comprehensive overview on this broad topic in a rapid format behooving an emergent pandemic we conducted a scoping review.

          Methods

          A scoping review was conducted to compile evidence on direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on maternal health and provide an overview of the most significant outcomes thus far. Working papers and news articles were considered appropriate evidence along with peer-reviewed publications in order to capture rapidly evolving updates. Literature in English published from January 1st to September 11 2020 was included if it pertained to the direct or indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical, mental, economic, or social health and wellbeing of pregnant people. Narrative descriptions were written about subject areas for which the authors found the most evidence.

          Results

          The search yielded 396 publications, of which 95 were included. Pregnant individuals were found to be at a heightened risk of more severe symptoms than people who are not pregnant. Intrauterine, vertical, and breastmilk transmission were unlikely. Labor, delivery, and breastfeeding guidelines for COVID-19 positive patients varied. Severe increases in maternal mental health issues, such as clinically relevant anxiety and depression, were reported. Domestic violence appeared to spike. Prenatal care visits decreased, healthcare infrastructure was strained, and potentially harmful policies implemented with little evidence. Women were more likely to lose their income due to the pandemic than men, and working mothers struggled with increased childcare demands.

          Conclusion

          Pregnant women and mothers were not found to be at higher risk for COVID-19 infection than people who are not pregnant, however pregnant people with symptomatic COVID-19 may experience more adverse outcomes compared to non-pregnant people and seem to face disproportionate adverse socio-economic consequences. High income and low- and middle-income countries alike faced significant struggles. Further resources should be directed towards quality epidemiological studies.

          Plain English summary

          The Covid-19 pandemic impacts reproductive and perinatal health both directly through infection itself but also indirectly as a consequence of changes in health care, social policy, or social and economic circumstances. The direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 on maternal health are intertwined. To provide a comprehensive overview on this broad topic we conducted a scoping review. Pregnant women who have symptomatic COVID-19 may experience more severe outcomes than people who are not pregnant. Intrauterine and breastmilk transmission, and the passage of the virus from mother to baby during delivery are unlikely. The guidelines for labor, delivery, and breastfeeding for COVID-19 positive patients vary, and this variability could create uncertainty and unnecessary harm. Prenatal care visits decreased, healthcare infrastructure was strained, and potentially harmful policies are implemented with little evidence in high and low/middle income countries. The social and economic impact of COVID-19 on maternal health is marked. A high frequency of maternal mental health problems, such as clinically relevant anxiety and depression, during the epidemic are reported in many countries. This likely reflects an increase in problems, but studies demonstrating a true change are lacking. Domestic violence appeared to spike. Women were more vulnerable to losing their income due to the pandemic than men, and working mothers struggled with increased childcare demands. We make several recommendations: more resources should be directed to epidemiological studies, health and social services for pregnant women and mothers should not be diminished, and more focus on maternal mental health during the epidemic is needed.

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          Most cited references80

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          Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China

          Summary Background A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients. Methods All patients with suspected 2019-nCoV were admitted to a designated hospital in Wuhan. We prospectively collected and analysed data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by WHO and the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data. Outcomes were also compared between patients who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who had not. Findings By Jan 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men (30 [73%] of 41); less than half had underlying diseases (13 [32%]), including diabetes (eight [20%]), hypertension (six [15%]), and cardiovascular disease (six [15%]). Median age was 49·0 years (IQR 41·0–58·0). 27 (66%) of 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found. Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (40 [98%] of 41 patients), cough (31 [76%]), and myalgia or fatigue (18 [44%]); less common symptoms were sputum production (11 [28%] of 39), headache (three [8%] of 38), haemoptysis (two [5%] of 39), and diarrhoea (one [3%] of 38). Dyspnoea developed in 22 (55%) of 40 patients (median time from illness onset to dyspnoea 8·0 days [IQR 5·0–13·0]). 26 (63%) of 41 patients had lymphopenia. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (12 [29%]), RNAaemia (six [15%]), acute cardiac injury (five [12%]) and secondary infection (four [10%]). 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients had higher plasma levels of IL2, IL7, IL10, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission, and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfilment by future studies. Funding Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission.
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            Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework

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              Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Types of Clinical Specimens

              This study describes results of PCR and viral RNA testing for SARS-CoV-2 in bronchoalveolar fluid, sputum, feces, blood, and urine specimens from patients with COVID-19 infection in China to identify possible means of non-respiratory transmission.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                tiemeier@hsph.harvard.edu
                Journal
                Reprod Health
                Reprod Health
                Reproductive Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                1742-4755
                18 January 2021
                18 January 2021
                2021
                : 18
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.38142.3c, ISNI 000000041936754X, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, ; Boston, MA USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.253615.6, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9510, George Washington University, ; Washington, DC USA
                [3 ]GRID grid.40263.33, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9094, Brown University, ; Providence, Rhode Island USA
                [4 ]GRID grid.38142.3c, ISNI 000000041936754X, Department of Social and Behavioral Science, , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, ; 677 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115 USA
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4395-1397
                Article
                1070
                10.1186/s12978-021-01070-6
                7812564
                33461593
                d6999650-cf4a-46bd-a612-8e5346a4f1e9
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                History
                : 13 October 2020
                : 4 January 2021
                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100007305, Maternal and Child Health Bureau;
                Award ID: T76 MC000010
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Obstetrics & Gynecology
                covid-19,sars-cov-2,maternal health,newborn health,maternal-child transmission,mental health,gender equity

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