A study of pregnant women positive for COVID-19 at delivery found no evidence of vertical transmission, but increased gastrointestinal problems in their newborn infants.
Now that COVID-19 vaccination is proven to be safe and effective for pregnant women and their babies, it is highly recommended to prevent against infection and disease.
This strong indication is due to the perceived association of maternal COVID-19 infection during infection with adverse neonatal outcomes. So far, only a weak connection of vertical COVID-19 transmission has been established. One study, presented this week at the 40th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID), examined the neonatal outcome of infants born to mothers with perinatal COVID-19 infection.
This prospective cohort study was conducted in 2 Academic Tertiary Referral Hospitals in Greece from March 2020-April 2021. The investigators collected information on maternal age, nationality, comorbidities, and COVID-19 infection characteristics. After delivery, the investigators noted gestational age, mode of delivery, birth weight, need for resuscitation or supplemental oxygen, and management during hospitalization.
A total of 79 pregnant women, positive for COVID-19 at delivery, gave birth to 81 neonates. The neonates were matched 2:1 for sex, gestational age, and birthweight to babies born to COVID-19-negative mothers.
The average age of the mothers in both cohorts was 30.5 years, and ~65% did not have comorbidities. A total of 57% of the pregnant mothers were symptomatic, and 22% received COVID-19 treatment.
In the COVID-19 cohort, 24.7% of infants were premature, compared to 21.2% in the COVID-19-negative mothers. There were also significantly more C-section births in the COVID-19 group.
Among the mothers positive for COVID-19 at delivery, the average gestational age was 38 weeks, and the average birth weight was 2940 gr. Only 2.4% (n = 2) of the neonates were PCR positive.
The investigators noted that gastrointestinal problems were more common in infants born to COVID-19-positive mothers. Antibiotics usage did not differ between the 2 cohorts of women, though the COVID-19 group had an average hospital stay of 10 days and the control group stayed for an average of 4 days.
The investigators concluded that there was not any vertical COVID-19 transmission. They recommended further research into the gastrointestinal symptoms of neonates born to mothers with COVID-19 infection.
This study, “Clinical Outcome in Newborns of Perinatally COVID-19 Infected Women,” was presented during the 40th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID), held online and in Athens, Greece from May 9-13, 2022.