Mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 infection possible, but rare, finds study – ScienceDaily
Mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 infection possible, but rare, finds study – ScienceDaily

Mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 infection possible, but rare, finds study – ScienceDaily

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection, can be transmitted from mother to baby before, during and after birth – but such events are rare, a new study shows.

Overall, fewer than two percent of babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection also test positive for the virus, but they are more likely to test positive when women have severe COVID-19 or were diagnosed after birth.

Experts also discovered that vaginal births and breastfeeding do not increase the likelihood of babies testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 when their mothers have the infection.

An international research team, led by the University of Birmingham’s WHO Collaborating Center for Global Women’s Health, published its findings today in BMJ after examining data from across the globe regarding more than 14,000 babies born to mothers with COVID-19.

Overall, 1.8% of the 14,271 babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection tested positive for virus using PCR testing.

Study leader Shakila Thangaratinam, professor of maternal and perinatal health at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Ours is the first study to use the World Health Organization’s rigorous methods to show that it is possible for the virus to spread from mother to baby in utero. the birth and after the birth.

“But parents and healthcare professionals can be assured that only a very small proportion of babies born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 test positive. This means that the risk of infection for such babies is 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.”

Professor Thangaratinam added that healthcare professionals and policy makers should be aware of the expected burden of SARS-CoV-2 positivity in infants and that they can be infected at any time during pregnancy and childbirth – highlighting the need for appropriate measures to reduce risk for virus transmission in the postnatal period.

The research team recommends that since babies born to mothers with severe SARS-CoV-2 are more likely to test positive, they should be tested after birth and closely monitored. Vaccination during pregnancy should be further encouraged to prevent infection and serious illness in mothers.

The team will analyze new studies as additional evidence becomes available and also examine the effects that SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and vaccination have on newborns.

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Materials delivered by University of Birmingham. Note: The content can be edited for style and length.

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