Pregnancy and breastfeeding in the context of Ebola: a systematic review

Megan E. Foeller, Carolina Carvalho Ribeiro do Valle, Timothy M. Foeller, Olufemi T. Oladapo, Elin Roos, Anna E. Thorson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The outbreaks of Ebola virus between 2014 and 2020 have drawn attention to knowledge gaps related to Ebola virus disease in pregnant women. The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate available data on pregnant and lactating women with acute Ebola virus disease or following recovery. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library (CENTRAL), Web of Science Core Collection, CINAHL, POPLINE, Global Health, and WHO Global Index Medicus, in addition to grey literature, for relevant articles. Studies of all types and published between database inception and Aug 19, 2019, were eligible (PROSPERO 129335). We identified 1060 records, of which 52 studies met our inclusion criteria. Overall, mortality in 274 pregnant women with Ebola virus disease was 72% (197 women died); mortality for pregnant women with Ebola virus disease were not higher than those in the general population of patients with Ebola virus disease. Nearly all women with Ebola virus disease had adverse pregnancy outcomes. Among survivors, Ebola virus RNA was detected by RT-PCR in amniotic fluid up to 32 days after maternal clearance of Ebola virus from the blood and in breastmilk 26 days after symptom onset. A risk of transmission of Ebola virus from pregnancy-related fluids and breastmilk probably exists, and precautions should be taken.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e149-e158
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


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