Document Type : Review Article


1 Medical Biology Research Center, Health Technology Institute, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Division of Fetal Therapy and Surgery, Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

3 Maternal, Fetal and Neonatal Research Center, Vali-asr Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences Tehran, Iran


Pregnant women with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have a higher risk of morbidity and mortality compared with the general population. Possible pathways are: I) in patients with COVID-19, cytokine storm defined as the excess release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) has been associated with morbidities and an even higher rate of mortality. II) Labor, despite being a term/preterm, has an inflammatory nature, although, inflammation is more prominent in preterm delivery. During labor, different pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α are involved which as mentioned, all are crucial role players in the cytokine storm. III) Tissue injury, and during labor, (especially cesarean section) is shown to cause inflammation via pro-inflammatory cytokines release including those involved in the cytokine storm through the activation of nuclear factor κB (NFκB). IV) post-partum hemorrhage with a notable amount of blood loss which can cause significant hypoxemia. In this condition, hypoxia-inducible factor 1α which has a cross-talk with NFκB, leads to the expression of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α as both angiogenic and pro-inflammatory factors. Considering all the mentioned issues and pathways, we suggest that clinicians be careful about the escalation of the inflammatory status in their pregnant COVID-19 patients during/following labor.