Study: Pregnant women with COVID-19 rarely infect their newborns
The study, published in Jama Pediatrics, suggests infected mothers can retain contact with their infants and even continue to breastfeed.
HOW THE STUDY WAS CONDUCTED
The researchers looked at 101 newborns born to COVID-19-positive mothers. The hospital personnel maintained basic precautions to prevent infection and kept infants in protective cribs six feet away from the mothers’ beds.
Direct breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with babies were encouraged as long as the moms wore masks, and washed hands and breasts with soap and water.
REASSURANCE FOR MOTHERS WITH COVID-19
Researcher Dr Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman said: “Our findings should reassure expectant mothers with Covid-19 that basic infection control measures during and after childbirth, such as wearing a mask and engaging in breast and hand hygiene when holding or breastfeeding a baby, protects newborns from infection in this series.”
Among the infants in the study, only two tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and they had no symptoms. The researchers were not sure how the babies had become infected.
“During the pandemic we continued to do what we normally do to promote bonding and development in healthy newborns, while taking a few extra precautions to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.” Gyamfi-Bannerman said.
RECOMMENDATIONS IN ABSENCE OF DATA
Several groups have recommended that babies of COVID-19-infected mothers should be separated from their mothers.
Dr Dani Dumitriu, a researcher, said: “These recommendations were made in the absence of data on rates of mother-to-newborn SARS-CoV-2 transmission and are based on experience with mother-newborn transmission of other infectious diseases.
“But some of the recommendations conflict with what we know about the developmental benefits of early breastfeeding and skin-to skin-contact.
“Our study shows that these measures may not be necessary for healthy newborns with COVID-positive moms.”
Based in Johannesburg, Brian Derenberger is a Senior Editor at Healthy Organic Lifestyle.