Objectives To assess the rates of SARS-CoV-2 positivity in babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection, the timing of motherto-child transmission and perinatal outcomes, and factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 status in offspring. Design Living systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources Major databases between 1 December 2019 and 3 August 2021. Study selection Cohort studies of pregnant and recently pregnant women (including after abortion or miscarriage) who sought hospital care for any reason and had a diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and also provided data on offspring SARS-CoV-2 status and risk factors for positivity. Case series and case reports were also included to assess the timing and likelihood of mother-to-child transmission in SARS-CoV-2 positive babies. Data extraction Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality. A random effects model was used to synthesise data for rates, with associations reported using odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Narrative syntheses were performed when meta-analysis was inappropriate. The World Health Organization classification was used to categorise the timing of mother-to-child transmission (in utero, intrapartum, early postnatal). Results 472 studies (206 cohort studies, 266 case series and case reports; 28 952 mothers, 18 237 babies) were included. Overall, 1.8% (95% confidence interval 1.2% to 2.5%; 140 studies) of the 14 271 babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection tested positive for the virus with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Of the 592 SARS-CoV-2 positive babies with data on the timing of exposure and type and timing of tests, 14 had confirmed mother-to-child transmission: seven in utero (448 assessed), two intrapartum (18 assessed), and five during the early postnatal period (70 assessed). Of the 800 SARSCoV- 2 positive babies with outcome data, 20 were stillbirths, 23 were neonatal deaths, and eight were early pregnancy losses; 749 babies were alive at the end of follow-up. Severe maternal covid-19 (odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 4.4), maternal death (14.1, 4.1 to 48.0), maternal admission to an intensive care unit (3.5, 1.7 to 6.9), and maternal postnatal infection (5.0, 1.2 to 20.1) were associated with SARS-CoV-2 positivity in offspring. Positivity rates using RT-PCR varied between regions, ranging from 0.1% (95% confidence interval 0.0% to 0.3%) in studies from North America to 5.7% (3.2% to 8.7%) in studies from Latin America and the Caribbean. Co nclusion SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates were found to be low in babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Evidence suggests confirmed vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2, although this is likely to be rare. Severity of maternal covid-19 appears to be associated with SARS-CoV-2 positivity in offspring.