Ever since the pandemic started all over the world, there has been a lot of worry of it’s effect on many aspects of life. One of those aspects is on pregnancy. This is because due to changes in pregnant women, they are liable to infection. This happens most especially during the third trimester when pregnant women can contact viral infections such as flu. Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to observe social distancing and good hygiene especially during the third trimester.
Many fear the severe health impacts COVID-19 infection can have. However a recent study by researchers from Imperial College London and Oxford University who conducted the first study of the effect of COVID-19 infection in newborns across UK, showed that there is no severe infection of COVID-19 in babies. The study was conducted between early March and ending of April during the first wave of the pandemic in UK.
It was found that less than 1% of newborns were hospitalized for COVID-19 infection. However more of the babies from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups developed infection. Also, about 24% of the babies were born prematurely. Although there’s no solid link between COVID-19 infection and pregnancy, we must remember that there are other factors at play that can also cause infection or premature birth.
Although a small percentage of babies got infected through the mother, there were other babies who got infected after their birth. From this study, it has been suggested that the baby doesn’t need to be separated from the mother even if the mother is COVID-19 positive.
Dr Chris Gale, co-lead author of the study from Imperial’s School of Public School said, “Parents, and expectant parents, are understandably worried about their babies becoming ill with COVID-19. This study will hopefully provide some reassurance, as it suggests severe COVID-19 infection in newborns is very rare. Most babies only develop mild symptoms when infected with the virus and make a full recovery. This research also supports UK and international guidance to keep mother and baby together even when the mother is known or suspected to have COVID-19.”
Although more COVID-19 cases were from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, it’s generally not seen as life threatening. As long as the mother observes the required guidelines and the baby is well taken care of, the baby would survive. It is advised that even if a baby develops severe infection, it would need intensive care or breathing support.