Offering Clinical Insights into COVID-19 Positive Mothers and Newborns

November 12, 2020
John Parkinson

A study looking at these 2 populations in a hospital setting offers some positive news.

Nothing may be a more beautiful sight to witness than the moments when a mother and her newborn are brought together. This harmonious bonding is precious and is one of the best examples of nature. 

In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this has complicated these bonding rituals.

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) recently conducted a small study looking at mothers infected with COVID-19 and newborns. In the study, they reported very few adverse effects and low rates of COVID-19 transmission rates from mothers to newborns.

Investigators examined for adverse outcomes, including preterm birth, NICU admission, and respiratory disease, and found they did not differ between those born to mothers testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and those babies born to mothers testing negative.

The study looked at 263 infants with 179 testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 84 negative. Of the 263 infants, 44 were admitted to a NICU but no pneumonia or lower respiratory tract infections were reported during the study. Among the 56 infants assessed for upper respiratory infection, it was reported in two infants with COVID-positive mothers, and in one with a COVID-negative mother.

The study’s lead author Valerie J. Flaherman, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF spoke with Contagion® recently, and she provided specifics of the study and offered some insights into clinical approaches with COVID-19 mothers and newborns at her medical center.