Journal Article
Systematic Review
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The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on obstetrics and gynecology hospitalization rate and on reasons for seeking emergency care: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: During the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, utilization of emergency care units has been reported to be reduced for obstetrical and gynaecological reasons. The aim of this systematic review is to assess if this phenomenon reduced the rate of hospitalizations for any reason and to evaluate the main reasons for seeking care in this subset of the population.

METHODS: The search was conducted using the main electronic databases from January 2020 to May 2021. The studies were identified with the use of a combination of: "emergency department" OR "A&E" OR "emergency service" OR "emergency unit" OR "maternity service" AND "COVID-19" OR "COVID-19 pandemic" OR "SARS-COV-2" and "admission" OR "hospitalization". All the studies that evaluated women going to obstetrics & gynecology emergency department (ED) during the COVID-19 pandemic for any reason were included.

RESULTS: The pooled proportion (PP) of hospitalizations increased from 22.7 to 30.6% during the lockdown periods, in particular from 48.0 to 53.9% for delivery. The PP of pregnant women suffering from hypertensive disorders increased (2.6 vs 1.2%), as well as women having contractions (52 vs 43%) and rupture of membranes (12.0 vs 9.1%). Oppositely, the PP of women having pelvic pain (12.4 vs 14.4%), suspected ectopic pregnancy (1.8 vs 2.0), reduced fetal movements (3.0 vs 3.3%), vaginal bleeding both for obstetrical (11.7 vs 12.8%) and gynecological issues (7.4 vs 9.2%) slightly reduced.

CONCLUSION: During the lockdown, an increase in the proportion of hospitalizations for obstetrical and gynecological reasons has been registered, especially for labor symptoms and hypertensive disorders.

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