COVID Infection in a Newborn
Adapted from "Transplacental transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection" in Nature Communication
Doctors in France have found what they say is the world’s first recorded case of an unborn child contracting COVID-19 from their mother inside the uterus.
Several previous studies indicated that placental or cervical transmission was possible, but the case study from the Antoine Béclère hospital in Paris now serves as concrete evidence.
A 23-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with a fever and cough on March 24 when she was more than 35 weeks pregnant with a boy. She tested positive for the coronavirus, gave birth by cesarean section, and the baby also tested positive for the virus.
The baby boy suffered brain swelling and neurological symptoms linked to COVID-19 but has since recovered, and was discharged from hospital 18 days after his birth.
The good news is that this is very rare. Among the thousands of babies born to mothers with COVID-19, no more than one or two percent have tested positive for the virus, and even fewer show serious symptoms.
The most important message for pregnant women remains to avoid infection by paying attention to social distancing and wearing masks. But women can remain reassured that pregnancy is not a significant risk factor for them or their babies with COVID-19.