Clinical and epidemiological aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection among pregnant and postpartum women in Mozambique: a prospective cohort study

Abstract
Although there is a significant increase of evidence regarding the prevalence and impact of COVID-19 on maternal and perinatal outcomes, data on the effects of the pandemic on the obstetric population in sub-Saharan African countries are still scarce. Therefore, the study aims were to assess the prevalence and impact of COVID-19 on maternal and neonatal outcomes in the obstetric population at Central Hospital of Maputo (HCM), Mozambique. Prospective cohort study conducted at teaching and referral maternity, HCM, from 20 October 2020 to 22 July 2021. We collected maternal and perinatal outcomes up to 6 weeks postpartum of eligible women (pregnant and postpartum women—up to the 14th day postpartum) screened for COVID-19 (individual test for symptomatic participants and pool testing for asymptomatic). The primary outcome was maternal death, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission. We estimated the COVID-19 prevalence and the unadjusted RR (95% CI) for maternal and perinatal outcomes. We used the chi-square or Fisher's exact test to compare categorical variables (two-sided p-value < 0.05 for statistical significance). We included 239 participants. The overall prevalence of COVID-19 was 9.2% (22/239) and in the symptomatic group was 32.4% (11/34). About 50% of the participants with COVID-19 were symptomatic. Moreover, the most frequent symptoms were dyspnoea (33.3%), cough (28.6%), anosmia (23.8%), and fever (19%). Not having a partner, being pregnant, and alcohol consumption were vulnerability factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes (abortion, foetal death, preterm birth, Apgar, and NICU admission) was not significantly increased with COVID-19. Moreover, we did not observe a significant difference in the primary outcomes (SARS, ICU admission and maternal death) between COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative groups. The prevalence of COVID-19 in the obstetric population is higher than in the general population, and fifty percent of pregnant and postpartum women with COVID-19 infection are asymptomatic. Not having a partner and alcohol consumption were factors of greatest vulnerability to SARS-COV-2 infection. Moreover, being pregnant versus postpartum was associated with increased vulnerability to COVID-19. Data suggest that pregnant women with COVID-19 may have a higher frequency of COVID-19 infection, reinforcing the need for universal testing, adequate follow-up for this population, and increasing COVID-19 therapy facilities in Mozambique. Moreover, provide counselling during Antenatal care for COVID-19 preventive measures. However, more prospective and robust studies are needed to assess these findings.
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