Science

Newborns of Covid-19 mothers have low risk of developing severe symptoms: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 22, 2020

Researchers claimed in their study that newborns of Covid-19 positive women have a low risk of developing severe symptoms of the virus.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, revealed that 95 per cent of Covid-19 positive women face no adverse outcomes.

Notably, the study found that the coronavirus was transmitted to the fetus in just three per cent of the cases.

"Our findings are that approximately five percent of all delivered women with Covid-19 infection develop a severe or critical illness," said study author Emily Adhikari from the UT Southwestern Medical Centre in the US.

"Most women with the asymptomatic or mild infection will be relieved to know that their babies are unlikely to be affected by the virus," Adhikari added.

Finding

For the research, the team examined 3,374 mothers, 252 of whom tested positive for the virus during pregnancy, from March through August.

Among the 252 women who tested positive, 95 per cent were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms at first. Six of those women subsequently developed severe or critical Covid-19 pneumonia.

The researchers noted that Covid-19 mothers diagnosed with the infection at any time during pregnancy, the Covid-19 virus did not increase the risk of adverse outcomes. This includes preterm birth, preeclampsia with severe features, or cesarean delivery for abnormal fetal heart rate.

However, preterm birth was increased among mothers who had severe or critical illness before reaching 37 weeks in their pregnancy. However, it is hard to predict who can have severe symptoms.

The study found that diabetes may be one factor that increases the risk of severe or critical maternal illness.

The researchers mentioned that further study is needed to understand whether maternal infection with Covid-19 impacts long-term maternal or infant health.

"Our goal is to develop evidence-based guidelines for the majority of pregnant women who are recovering at home," Adhikari said.

Published on November 22, 2020

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