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Front Med (Lausanne)


A Ranking of the Most Common Maternal COVID-19 Symptoms: A Systematic Review.


Chao M, Menon C, Elgendi M
Front Med (Lausanne). 2022; 9:865134.
PMID: 35774993.


As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to devastate health systems worldwide, there is particular concern over the health and safety of one high-risk group, pregnant women, due to their altered immune systems. Since health workers regularly rely on symptoms to inform clinical treatment, it became critical to maintain a ranked list of COVID-19 symptoms specific to pregnant women. This systematic review investigated the prevalence of common COVID-19 symptoms in pregnant women and compared the ranked list of symptoms to articles of various sizes. Articles were included if they discussed pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19 using polymerase chain reaction testing, and women present symptoms of COVID-19 and were published between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2021; while articles were excluded if they did not report on pregnant women with COVID-19 displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Articles were identified on OVID MedLine and Embase in January of 2022. The risk of bias and quality appraisal was assessed using a nine-item modified Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network checklist for case-control studies. The search results included 78 articles that described 41,513 pregnant women with 42 unique COVID-19 symptoms. When ranked, the most common symptoms were found to be cough (10,843 cases, 16.02%), fever (7,653 cases, 11.31%), myalgia (6,505 cases, 9.61%), headache (5,264 cases, 7.78%), and dyspnea (5,184 cases, 7.66%). When compared to other articles in the literature with sample sizes of = 23,434, = 8,207, and = 651, the ranking largely aligned with those in other articles with large sample sizes and did not align with the results of articles with small sample sizes. The symptom ranking may be used to inform testing for COVID-19 in the clinic. Research is rapidly evolving with the ongoing nature of the pandemic, challenging the generalizability of the results.