Pregnant women with coronavirus infection can pass it to their babies, study finds


Newborns in a hospital
Newborns in a hospital nursery. A new study of 33 Chinese women who contracted the new coronavirus during pregnancy reports that three passed it on to their babies.

A study of 33 pregnant women in China who were infected with the new coronavirus found that three of them gave birth to babies with COVID-19.

All three infants survived after receiving treatment for their symptoms, doctors reported Thursday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

One of those infants was delivered by cesarean section nearly nine weeks before its due date because the mother was suffering from pneumonia caused by COVID-19. That baby’s health problems were primarily due to being born prematurely, not because it was infected with the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, the authors wrote.

“The clinical symptoms from 33 neonates with or at risk of COVID-19 were mild and outcomes were favorable,” wrote the authors, who were from two children’s hospitals in Wuhan and one in Shanghai.

“Because strict infection control and prevention procedures were implemented during the delivery, it is likely that the sources of SARS-CoV-2 in the neonates ... were maternal in origin,” the doctors added. “It is crucial to screen pregnant women and implement strict infection control measures, quarantine of infected mothers, and close monitoring of neonates at risk of COVID-19.”

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