Research from the University of Nottingham, UK, also indicates that vaginal birth and breastfeeding do not increase the risk of infection with the new coronavirus.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham, UK, concluded that transmission of Covid-19 from a mother to her baby during pregnancy is uncommon and that the delivery route – vaginal or surgical – does not increase the rate of infection between mother and child. The scientists described the finding in an article published in the June issue of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The authors analyzed 49 studies already published on neonatal health during the pandemic. Together, the revised data includes information on 666 newborn babies and 655 women (some women had twins). “We wanted to look at the outcome for babies whose mothers contracted the virus and see if the route of birth, method of infant feeding and mother/baby interaction increased the risk of babies contracting the virus,” explains Kate Walker, one of the researchers, in a statement.
Of the women who gave birth by normal delivery, only 8 of the 292 babies analyzed (2.7%) tested positive for the new coronavirus. Among the 364 newborns whose mothers underwent a cesarean section, 20 (5.3%) had a positive result for Covid-19. Most children with Sars-CoV-2 were asymptomatic.
The analysis also reveals that breastfeeding or allowing mothers to have contact with their children soon after birth did not increase the rate of infection among infants. “From our results, we are satisfied that the chance of newborn infection with COVID-19 is low,” said Waker.
The results are encouraging. However, the authors consider that more studies are needed to support their findings. “I am happy to see that the data continues to be reassuring,” said Jeannette Comeau, co-author of the study, in a note. “From the cases of infection in the newborn we do not have confirmatory evidence that this infection was acquired in the womb or during birth.”