Very Low Risk Of COVID-19 Transmission From Infected Mother
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Mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection rarely transmit the virus to their newborns when basic infection-control practices are followed, according to a new study. The findings -- the most detailed data available on the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission between moms and their newborns -- suggest that more extensive measures like separating COVID-19-positive mothers from their newborns and avoiding direct breastfeeding may not be warranted.

The researchers examined outcomes in the first 101 newborns born to COVID-19-positive mothers at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

To reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to newborns after delivery, hospital staff practiced social distancing, wore masks, and placed COVID-positive moms in private rooms. The hospitals provided the mothers with educational materials about COVID-19 and shortened hospital stays for all mothers without complications from delivery.

Most of the newborns roomed with their mothers, including during the first postpartum checkup. (Some were admitted to the newborn intensive care unit for non-COVID-related health reasons.) Infants who roomed with their moms were placed in protective cribs six feet away from the mothers' beds when resting. Direct breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with babies were strongly encouraged, provided the moms wore masks and washed hands and breasts with soap and water.

Only two of the newborns tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but had no clinical evidence of illness. Physicians followed up with about half of the infants, including the two that tested positive for the virus, during the first two weeks of life, and all remained well.

Data Support Breastfeeding, Skin-to-Skin Contact with Baby Even if Mom Has COVID-19

A number of pediatric and health organizations have released interim guidelines for pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2, recommending the separation of mothers and newborns during their hospital stay, no direct breastfeeding, and bathing newborns as soon as possible.

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," says lead author. "But some of the recommendations conflict with what is known about the developmental benefits of early breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. Thus study shows that these measures may not be necessary for healthy newborns with COVID-positive moms."

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2771636
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