Perinatal outcomes of pregnancy and childbirth in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients

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BACKGROUND: The presence of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy increases the incidence of adverse perinatal outcomes, which are manifested in more frequent spontaneous miscarriages, premature births, antenatal fetal deaths, and fetal growth retardation, as well as in the development of intraamniotic infection and respiratory distress syndrome of the newborn. The most likely cause of premature birth can be considered severe respiratory failure of the mother with hypoxemia, which leads to circulatory disorders in the hemodynamic system of the mother-placenta-fetus. Currently, there is no single expert opinion on pregnancy prolongation tactics, as well as the timing and methods of delivery in patients with COVID-19, which is decided individually by an interdisciplinary consultation of the experts, taking into account the severity of the patient’s condition, gestational age and fetal condition.

AIM: The aim of this study was to analyze perinatal outcomes of pregnancy and childbirth in the presence of moderate and severe COVID-19.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We carried out a retrospective analysis of perinatal outcomes in patients with the novel coronavirus infection in a specialized level III infectious hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2020–2021 (from the first to the fourth wave of COVID-19) based on the birth histories of 50 patients with moderate (n = 31) and severe (n = 19) forms of the disease.

RESULTS: Most of the patients suffered from chronic somatic diseases, with the course of pregnancy and childbirth complicated by premature rupture of amniotic fluid and progressive fetal hypoxia (fetal distress). In severe COVID-19, preterm labor prevailed and the proportion of operative abdominal delivery more than doubled that of vaginal delivery. The course of the postpartum period was determined by the COVID-19 positive dynamics. The majority of patients in the study groups showed significant changes in laboratory parameters such as anemia, an increase in the level of neutrophilic leukocytes with a subsequent decrease in their count, lymphopenia followed by lymphocytosis, and an increase in the levels of C-reactive protein and the activities of lactate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase. The study of the relationship between the most characteristic laboratory parameters in the disease dynamics showed the presence of statistically significant correlations between inflammation markers and metabolic markers, which allowed for assessing the severity of the patient’s condition.

Antenatal diagnosis of the fetal functional status based on cardiotocography, ultrasound and Doppler sonography data revealed a predominantly compensated fetal condition in the study groups. The condition of newborns in all patients with moderate COVID-19 and in most of patients with the severe form of the disease was satisfactory. In severe COVID-19, the birth of children with moderate asphyxia was due to prematurity and antenatal hypoxia resulted from decompensation of chronic placental insufficiency. The histopathological patterns of the afterbirth in the study groups were represented by inflammatory changes and chronic placental insufficiency.

CONCLUSIONS: The data obtained suggest that the basis for favorable perinatal outcomes is an adequate assessment of the condition of the pregnant woman and the fetus with timely delivery before the onset of irreversible organ damage.

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About the authors

Vitaly F. Bezhenar

Academician I.P. Pavlov First St. Petersburg State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7807-4929
SPIN-code: 8626-7555
ResearcherId: R-7055-2017

MD, Dr. Sci. (Med.), Professor

Russian Federation, 6-8 L’va Tolstogo St., Saint Petersburg, 197022

Igor M. Nesterov

Academician I.P. Pavlov First St. Petersburg State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7558-7657
SPIN-code: 4158-6201

MD, Cand. Sci. (Med.), Assistant Professor

Russian Federation, 6-8 L’va Tolstogo St., Saint Petersburg, 197022

Irina A. Dobrovolskaya

Academician I.P. Pavlov First St. Petersburg State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9819-213X
SPIN-code: 4197-7150

MD, Cand. Sci. (Med.)

Russian Federation, 6-8 L’va Tolstogo St., Saint Petersburg, 197022


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