EHS-COVID (252) Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and perinatal outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

3 April, 2021

Dear HIFA colleagues,

This new paper in The Lancet Global Health demonstrates the impact of COVID-19 on maternal and newbornm health services. This is clearly a critical area for prioritisation. I invite HIFA members to share your observations and experience. Have you noted changes in your health facility or country? Email:

CITATION: Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and perinatal outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Barbara Chmielewska et al. Lancet Global Health

Open Access Published:March 31, 2021 DOI:


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on health-care systems and potentially on pregnancy outcomes, but no systematic synthesis of evidence of this effect has been undertaken. We aimed to assess the collective evidence on the effects on maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes of the pandemic.

Methods: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on the effects of the pandemic on maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes...

Findings: The search identified 3592 citations, of which 40 studies were included...

Interpretation: Global maternal and fetal outcomes have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an increase in maternal deaths, stillbirth, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, and maternal depression. Some outcomes show considerable disparity between high-resource and low-resource settings. There is an urgent need to prioritise safe, accessible, and equitable maternity care within the strategic response to this pandemic and in future health crises.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, WHO-HIFA Collaboration: HIFA project on Essential Health Services and COVID-19

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: