[RESEARCH] Can pregnant mothers pass COVID-19 to their babies?

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A recent research done by scientists in China found that pregnant women with COVID-19 can potentially transfer the virus to their babies.

  • The study was conducted on 33 babies whose mothers had the virus when giving birth
  • Three babies were tested positive after birth 
  • However, the team note that samples of amniotic fluid, cord blood and breast milk were all negative for coronavirus
  • Two other recent studies have found no evidence of COVID-19 being passed from mother to child in this way

Source: Antibodies in Infants Born to Mothers With COVID-19 Pneumonia’ by Hui Zeng et al. (Published in JAMA on Thursday 26 March 2020.)

WHO: COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding

Meanwhile very little is known about the relationship between pregnancy and COVID-19 especially whether a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can transfer the virus to her child during pregnancy or delivery.

“We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery,” said WHO in a Q&A statement on the subject matter. 

“To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk,” it added. 

WHO assured mothers that they can still breastfeed their babies, while taking precautions including keeping all surfaces clean and washing their hands before and after touching the baby. 

While older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risks of contracting COVID-19, according to WHO, data is limited in understanding the impact of the virus on pregnant women. 

“But at present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.”

“However, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections.” 

Read more Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding here.

**View all previous posts about COVID-19 here: https://sciencemediacentremalaysia.com/tag/covid-19/

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