This is a summary, written by members of the CITF Secretariat, of:

Yang J, D’Souza R, Kharrat A, Fell DB, Snelgrove JW, Murphy KE, Shah P.. COVID‐19 pandemic and population‐level pregnancy and neonatal outcomes: a living systematic review and meta‐analysis. Acta Obstet et Gynecol Scand 2021;100:1756–70. doi:10.1111/aogs.14206

The results and/or conclusions contained in the research do not necessarily reflect the views of all CITF members.

As the pandemic progresses, we are learning more about COVID-19 and its effects on pregnancy. A recent study conducted by researchers in Ontario, including CITF-funded researcher Dr. Deshayne Fell from the University of Ottawa and the CHEO Research Institute, sought to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected pregnancy outcomes at a population level. The results were recently published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

The authors conducted a living systematic reviewA living systematic review is a document that is up-dated regularly (~every 3 months) to incorporate new publications using the same search strategy. and meta-analysis of studies reporting pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, comparing the pandemic period to pre- pandemic periods. The authors analyzed 37 studies from 18 countries comparing roughly 1.6 million pregnancies during the pandemic period to roughly 21 million pregnancies in the pre-pandemic period. Their findings will help inform clinical practices regarding this priority population as well as health service delivery.

Key Findings:

  • There was a reduction in both spontaneous and induced preterm births during the pandemic.
  • There were no observed differences in the proportion of stillbirths when comparing pandemic and pre-pandemic periods.
  • A slight increase in birthweight was observed during the pandemic period.
  • Reduced access to care may be an issue for pregnant individuals in many regions of the world.

As this is a living review, more data will be added as it arises. New data will also help flesh out the lived experiences of pregnant people in the COVID-10 pandemic era. The authors emphasize that studies in diverse regions affected by COVID-19 are needed to gain better understanding of healthcare access, healthcare availability, and other factors that may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes.