Mothers with COVID-19 appear unlikely to pass the disease to their newborn babies — even if they breastfeed and share the same room — provided they take certain precautions, a small new study suggests.
The study found that, out of 120 babies born to mothers with COVID-19, none contracted the disease during childbirth or in the two weeks after birth, even though most of the mothers breastfed, had skin-to-skin contact and shared a room with their babies. The mothers took steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing surgical masks, and washing their hands and breasts before having contact with and breastfeeding their babies, according to the study, published Thursday (July 23) in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
"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," study co-lead author Dr. Christine Salvatore, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine-New York Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital in New York City, said in a statement. Still, the authors note that their study was relatively small, so larger studies are needed to confirm the results.
Given that COVID-19 is such a new disease, data on the risks of transmission from mothers to newborns has been limited. There have been several case reports of newborns that tested positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours after birth and appeared to have contracted the disease in the womb, the authors said. But such reports are rare.
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