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Don't Separate Mother From New Born During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 1, 2021 • 2:58 pm CDT
(Coronavirus Today)

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the Public Health Agency of Sweden studied newborn babies whose mothers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy or childbirth. The results show that although babies born of test-positive mothers are more likely to be born early, and extremely few were infected with COVID-19.

"By cross-referencing the three registries, we've been able to monitor and report outcomes for the neonates in real-time during both the first and second waves of COVID-19," stated these researchers.

The study published in the journal JAMA on April 29, 2021, supports the Swedish recommendation not to separate mother and baby after delivery.

The population-based study in Sweden comprised 92% of all neonates - almost 90,000 births.

The results show a slightly higher level of morbidity in neonates whose mothers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, including an increased risk of respiratory disorders, which were largely due to the higher number of preterm births in this group. No direct correlation between maternal infection and neonatal respiratory infection or pneumonia could be observed.

A total of 2,323 babies were born to SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers.

Only 21 (0.9%) of the babies of these women tested positive for the virus at some point during the newborn period (the first 28 days), the majority without displaying any symptoms; a few babies were treated for other reasons than COVID-19.

Mikael Norman, professor of pediatrics at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, and one of the researchers leading the study, said in a press release, "Our study suggests that mother and baby can be cared for together and that nursing can be recommended without danger to the baby's health."

"This is good news for all pregnant women, their babies, and postnatal and neonatal staff."

The study was made possible through daily reports to three Swedish registries: the National Quality Register for Pregnancy, the National Quality Register for Neonatal Care, and the Communicable Diseases Register.

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