COVID-19 could be transmitted from mother to baby, but it’s rare

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In a new study from the University of Birmingham, researchers found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 infection, can be transmitted from mother to baby before, during and after childbirth—but such occurrences are rare.

Overall, fewer than 2% of babies born to mothers with COVID-19 infection also test positive for the virus.

However, if the women have severe COVID-19 or were diagnosed after childbirth, babies are more likely to test positive.

Researchers also discovered that vaginal births and breastfeeding do not increase the likelihood of babies testing positive for coronavirus when their mothers have the infection.

In the current study, the team examined the data from around the globe relating to more than 14,000 babies born to mothers with COVID-19.

They found that 1.8% of the 14,271 babies born to mothers with COVID-19 infection tested positive for the virus using PCR tests.

This is the first study to use the World Health Organization’s stringent methods to show that it is possible for the virus to be spread from the mother to baby while in the womb, during childbirth, and after delivery.

The good news is that parents and healthcare professionals can be reassured that only a very small proportion of babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 test positive.

This implies that the risks of infection to such babies are rare.

Mothers should also be reassured about the low risk of viral transmission through vaginal birth, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding—all of which should be encouraged.

The findings suggest that since babies born to mothers with severe SARS-CoV-2 are more likely to test positive, they will need to be tested after birth and monitored closely.

Vaccination in pregnancy should be further encouraged to prevent infection and severe disease in mothers.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new air filters that could rapidly kill COVID-19 and other viruses, and findings of new way to trigger immune system against COVID-19.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about how to protect your sleep from insomnia over COVID-19 anxiety, and results showing that even mild cases of COVID-19 could leave mark on the brain.

The study was conducted by Shakila Thangaratinam et al., and published in BMJ.

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