How Will Coronavirus Affect Infants and Pregnant Women?
If you are pregnant or caring for an infant, you might be wondering if Coronavirus (COVID-19) is dangerous to you or your child. Although information is very limited, so far, pregnant women and infants are currently considered at low risk. In this article, we’ll address common concerns that parents have about Coronavirus, pregnancy, and young children and discuss the precautions you should take to keep safe and healthy.
The information in this post was compiled from government, educational non-profit, and medical expert sources.
To learn more about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may affect pregnant women and infants, keep reading.
April 9, 2020
The CDC has just updated their page on pregnancy / infants and COVID-19. Included in the update is guidance regarding potential transmission of the virus from mothers to infants, best practices for breastfeeding, and steps to protect yourself and your baby.
Some key information:
- Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread.
- Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.
- You, along with your family and healthcare providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding
- In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk.
March 20, 2020
“Children at all ages were sensitive to COVID-19, and there was no significant gender difference. Clinical manifestations of children’s COVID-19 cases were less severe than those of adults’ patients. However, young children, particularly infants, were vulnerable to 2019-nCoV infection.”
BREAKING NEWS: A peer reviewed study pre-released before publication concludes that infants are the most vulnerable among children to Coronavirus.
- The study reports that of the 2,143 children, 125 (5%) children were severe or critical cases.
- Of the 125 severe and critical cases, 40 children (32%) were under 1 years old.
- The 40 infants with severe and critical conditions were 1.8% of the 2,143 total patients studied.
- 339 of 379 infected infants (89%) experienced mild, moderate, or no symptoms at all.
This data suggests that while infants are unlikely overall to experience severe or critical conditions because of Coronavirus, infants are more likely to be infected and to experience severe or critical conditions when compared to children of other ages.
This is a developing story. We’ll keep updating as more information is released.
March 16, 2020
“[There is] no evidence for intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who develop COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy…”
New information published on March 16, 2020 supports that pregnant mothers do not pass the virus down to babies before birth. Although the sample size is very small, none of the mothers who tested positive for Coronavirus passed down the virus through the womb before birth.
What is Coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19?
The Coronavirus is a respiratory disease caused by a new kind of virus. It is alternately also referred to as COVID-19, which is an abbreviation that stands for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
The virus is thought to have originated in bats and spread to humans. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus a global pandemic. The reason WHO labeled COVID-19 as a pandemic is because of the global nature of how the disease is spreading.
Symptoms of the Coronavirus include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or lethargy
- Bluish lips or face
If you observe these symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Risks Correlated to Age
Although there are still many unknowns, the dangers of Coronavirus seem to be most significant for our elderly population. According to recent statistics, only .9% of Coronavirus cases are children 9 or younger.
Children who have the Coronavirus seem to have mild symptoms or even none at all. Although the information we currently have is still limited and poorly understood, it seems like children are not as susceptible to the infection and experience much less severe symptoms when infected.
Are Pregnant Moms at Risk?
As with any viral, infectious disease, pregnant women should try and reduce or eliminate exposure to the disease. Diseases like the Coronavirus, or even the common flu, can affect the mother’s health and affect the pregnancy. Dangerous birth weights and pre-term births are common risks.
Adults, including pregnant women, are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, avoid touching their faces, and avoid large gatherings. However, if you are under 50 years old, and have no pre-existing conditions, you can take comfort in the data that suggests you will not be severely affected.
Are Infants at Risk?
Fortunately, the limited data we have now suggests that infants are not in any unusual risk from Coronavirus. However, as in any other circumstance, parents should take common sense steps to avoid exposing infants to disease.
- Keep yourself and child away from sick people
- Wash your hands with soap and water before holding the baby
- Have others wash their hands with soap and water before holding the baby
- Cover your nose and mouth if you must sneeze or cough
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
If your child does show signs of illness, please seek medical attention immediately.
Can You Transmit Coronavirus By Breastfeeding?
So far as we can tell, there is no evidence that breastfeeding can transmit Coronavirus from a mother to an infant. In fact, the CDC believes that breastfeeding could provide the baby with helpful antibodies.
Lee, David. How Does the Coronavirus Affect Children and Infants? U.S. News & World Report, health.usnews.com/conditions/articles/how-does-the-coronavirus-affect-children-and-infants.
Protect Infants & Young Children Against Flu. (2019). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 13 March 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/infantcare.htm
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Symptoms. (2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 13 March 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
Chen, Y., Peng, H., Wang, L., Zhao, Y., Zeng, L., Gao, H., & Liu, Y. (2020). Infants Born to Mothers With a New Coronavirus (COVID-19). Frontiers In Pediatrics, 8. doi:10.3389/fped.2020.00104 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2020.00104/full
March 20, 2020
Yuanyuan Dong, Xi Mo, Yabin Hu, Xin Qi, Fang Jiang, Zhongyi Jiang, Shilu Tong. Epidemiological Characteristics of 2143 Pediatric Patients With 2019 Coronavirus Disease in China. Retrieved 20 March 2020, from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/03/16/peds.2020-0702.full.pdf
Contact a Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury Attorney
Getting help for a child with a birth injury can make a big difference. Early intervention and early treatment is often key to helping improve a child’s wellbeing. You must act quickly.
If you have questions about whether your child’s birth injury was caused by a preventable medical error, then our attorneys at Brown Trial Firm may be able to help.
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If you would like help investigating your child’s birth injury, please contact us. Our birth injury attorneys will be happy to give you a free case evaluation. We can also point you to great non-legal resources that can help you figure out your next steps.
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