Mothers with COVID-19 Infection Unlikely to Pass Virus to Their Newborn Babies: Study

by GoNews Desk 8 months ago Views 761

Mothers with COVID-19 infection are unlikely to pass the virus to their newborn babies, if correct hygiene precautions are observed, according to an observational study.

The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, involved 120 babies born to mothers with COVID-19 infection and found no cases of transmission of the virus during childbirth or after two weeks of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact.

The findings suggest that mothers with COVID-19 infection can breastfeed and stay in the same room as their newborn safely, if they use appropriate face coverings and follow infection control procedures.


Dr Christine M. Salvatore, who is the primary lead for the study, from the Weill Cornell Medicine-New York Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, USA, said: “Data on the risk of COVID-19 transmission during pregnancy or while breastfeeding are limited to a small number of case studies. We hope our study will provide some reassurance to new mothers that the risk of them passing COVID-19 to their babies is very low. However, larger studies are needed to better understand the risks of transmission from mother to child.”

The World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists emphasised that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh potential risks of COVID-19 transmission.

The latest study observed outcomes from 120 babies born to 116 mothers at 3 hospitals in New York City, USA, between 22 March and 17 May 2020. All of the babies were allowed to share a room with their mothers and breastfeed, if their mothers were well enough. The babies were kept in enclosed cribs, six feet apart, except during feeding. Mothers were required to wear surgical masks while handling their babies and followed frequent hand and breast washing procedures.


All of the babies underwent a PCR test from a nasal swab within the first 24 hours of birth and none tested positive for COVID-19. Follow-up data was available for 82 babies after 5 to 7 days of life. Of these, the vast majority had been sharing a room with their mothers (83%, 68/82) and three quarters were still breastfeeding (78%, 64/82). 79 babies were tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus again after 5-7 days and 72 babies received a further test after two weeks of life. None of the results were positive and none of the babies showed symptoms of COVID-19 at any time.

53 babies underwent a remote check up by video conferencing after one month of life. All of them continued to be clinically well and were growing appropriately.


Dr Patricia DeLaMora, who jointly led the study, from the Weill Cornell Medicine-New York Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, USA , said: “We know that skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding are important both for mother-infant bonding and for long-term child health. Our findings suggest that babies born to mothers with COVID-19 infection can still benefit from these safely, if appropriate infection control measures are followed.”

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