Does COVID-19 transmit from mother to child?

While the continuously evolving nature of the virus makes it difficult to say anything with absolute certainty,

studies suggest that transmission of the infection from a pregnant mother to her child is possible.

Is there a risk of vertical transmission of the infection from mother to the fetus?

Due to a shortage of research material, there is no detailed information to suggest whether or not a vertical transmission is possible. However, whatever research has been done shows that the virus has not been found in breast milk or the amniotic fluid. Yet, some recent controlled studies have proven that babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers have been born infected.

 A newborn baby is also more vulnerable to getting infected after birth. Thus, doctors advise separating the baby from an infected mother for the first few days to ensure it doesn’t transmit. Mothers who may have common flu are also encouraged to take due precautions.

Symptoms of pregnant women experience in a possible case of COVID-19.

Though most of the symptoms are common to many other viral infections and the common flu, it is good to be sure that you are not COVID positive. Signs you should keep a lookout for are:           

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Headache
  • Shivering with chills

The majority of these symptoms are known to subside with ample rest and a liquid diet; it will help if you consult your doctor. 

Can a COVID positive mother breastfeed her child?

Not many concrete research results suggest that a child being breastfed by a COVID positive mom can get the infection. This is mainly due to the continuous developments and discoveries being made concerning this virus. 

The AAP and other scientific associations strongly support breastfeeding as the best choice for infant feeding. It is not determined whether the virus is secreted in breast milk. It has also not been established whether the protective antibody is found in breast milk. Given these uncertainties, breastfeeding is not contradicted at this time.

Care should be taken by breastfeeding mothers.

  • Mothers should wear a mask and perform hand hygiene before breastfeeding.
  • Suppose an infected mother chooses not to nurse her newborn. In that case, she may pump breast milk with appropriate hand hygiene. This can be fed to the infant by someone else.
  • Mothers of NICU infants may pump breast milk during any time that their infection status prohibits their presence in the NICU.
  •  Infants should be tested for COVID 19 at approximately 24 hours of age and again at about 48 hours of age. Some infants have had a negative test at 24 hours to have a positive test later.

However, doctors believe that the chances of getting the infection through breastfeeding from a COVID positive mother are primarily low.

Special Thanks to Dr. Vaishali Chavan (MD. DGO. DFP. DNB. FICOG) for the expert advice.

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