SARS-CoV-2, the agent of COVID-19, is similar to two other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, in causing life-threatening maternal respiratory infections and systemic complications. Because of global concern for potential intrauterine transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from pregnant women to their infants, this report analyzes the effects on pregnancy of infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory RNA viruses, and examines the frequency of maternal-fetal transmission with SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza (HPIV) and metapneumovirus (hMPV). There have been no confirmed cases of intrauterine transmission reported with COVID-19 or any other coronavirus infections. Influenza virus, despite causing approximately one billion annual infections globally, has only a few cases of confirmed or suspected intrauterine fetal infections reported. RSV is in an unusual cause of illness among pregnant women, and with the exception of one premature infant with congenital pneumonia, no other cases of maternal-fetal infection are described. Parainfluenza virus and human metapneumovirus can produce symptomatic maternal infections but do not cause intrauterine fetal infection. In summary, it appears that the absence thus far of maternal-fetal transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the COVID-19 pandemic is similar to other coronaviruses, and is also consistent with the extreme rarity of suggested or confirmed cases of intrauterine transmission of other respiratory RNA viruses. This observation has important consequences for pregnant women as it appears that if intrauterine transmission of SARSCoV-2 does eventually occur, it will be a rare event. Potential mechanisms of fetal protection from maternal viral infections are also discussed.

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