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Very low risk of COVID-19 transmission from infected mother to newborn: JAMA

A study New York City hospitals published yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics found no evidence of…

NEW YORK, NY – Mothers with COVID-19infection rarely transmit the virus to their newborns when basic infection-control practices are followed, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. 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 study was published online today in JAMA Pediatrics.

“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–protected newborns from infection in this series,” says Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, MSc, the Ellen Jacobson Levine and Eugene Jacobson Professor of Women’s Health in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, a maternal-fetal medicine expert at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and a senior author of the paper.

Basic Infection-Prevention Measures Reduced COVID-19 Risk in Newborns

The researchers examined outcomes in the first 101 newborns born to COVID-19-positive mothers at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital or NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital from March 13 to April 24, 2020.

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…

Hina Zahid

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