LivingNewborns and coronavirus: what are the symptoms and what...

Newborns and coronavirus: what are the symptoms and what recommendations to take into account

In recent weeks there is no talk of anything else and little by little we are getting more information about the new coronavirus (COVID-19). However, what we know about infection in children is still scarce, and even more what happens during pregnancy and how it can affect newborns .

Could the pregnant mother pass the infection to her baby? What happens if the baby is infected after delivery? What are the symptoms of COVID 19 in newborns? With the latest published studies and the protocols of the main scientific societies, we will try to answer all the questions.

If I am pregnant and infected with the new Coronavirus, can it affect my baby?

Based on the available data, there appears to be no vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 ; that is, it does not appear that during pregnancy the mother can transmit the infection to the baby.

Nine women have been tested for COVID-19 in the third trimester of pregnancy and all of their babies were negative for the virus . The virus was also not detected in cord blood or amniotic fluid. In another study conducted with four pregnant women with coronavirus, their babies were also born free of the virus.

Only one case of a positive newborn has been detected at 30 hours of life, who was born full-term by cesarean section and whose mother had SARS-Co-2 pneumonia; the baby had no symptoms. However, the case has recently been published in the United Kingdom of a baby who tested positive a few minutes after birth, the son of a mother with Coronavirus pneumonia, so we still have unknowns to answer about the transmission of the virus.

On the other hand, in two published series of Chinese women infected by SARS-CoV-2 in the third trimester of pregnancy, some preterm births have been recorded. It seems that the mother’s infection in the days before or immediately after delivery could have adverse effects on newborns.

If the newborn is infected, what will his symptoms be?

The newborn can become infected just like other older people. Fortunately, like children, newborns do well.

Asymptomatic newborns and others with symptoms such as fever, cough, and respiratory distress have been described. Some may also have gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and / or diarrhea), as well as tiredness. However these symptoms are milder.

We must especially watch out if the baby breathes very fast, sinks the chest, the ribs are marked, if he refuses to feed, or shows signs of dehydration or decay.

In babies under three months with fever, they should always be evaluated by a pediatrician (regardless of the area in which they live or whether they have had previous contact with a case of Coronavirus), but in this case, and in the face of a pandemic situation, also I recommend that you inquire about what to do next (at the information telephone number about the coronavirus in each community or by calling the health center).

How do I prevent my newborn from getting infected?

The virus is transmitted mainly through small respiratory droplets (when talking, coughing, sneezing) and by contact with respiratory secretions. For this reason, hand hygiene is essential and avoiding close contact with people with flu symptoms or suspected infection. Of course, limit any visit to the newborn as much as possible.

There is still little scientific evidence so there are different protocols on how to act when a mother with COVID-19 gives birth:

  • The Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics recommends immediate clamping of the umbilical cord and avoiding skin-to-skin contact after delivery. It should be considered to separate the mother and the baby temporarily, while the mother has the possibility of transmitting the infection. In the event that they remain in the same room, the newborn must be at least two meters away from his mother; If the mother must take care of him, she should wash her hands before and after any contact with him and wear a surgical mask when he is less than two meters away. The Spanish Society of Neonatology, stricter at the beginning, already talks about evaluating late clamping and skin-to-skin if correct mother-child isolation can be guaranteed. In symptomatic mothers with confirmed infection or under investigation, it does recommend admitting the newborn isolated and separated from its mother.

  • The WHO, on the other hand, defends, verbatim, that “mothers and babies should be able to stay together and practice skin-to-skin contact, care for the kangaroo mother and stay together and practice joint accommodation during the day and night, especially immediately after birth during the establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or the infants are probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases. ” They should exercise extreme hygiene and wear a surgical mask . This is also the opinion of the BFHI, which defends skin-to-skin after childbirth and favors spontaneous latching in the first hour of life, as well as maintaining breastfeeding in any case (directly if the mother’s health is so). allowed and delayed if this is not possible).

Is the new Coronavirus transmitted by breastfeeding?

The new Coronaviurs, SARS-CoV-2, has not been detected in breast milk; For this reason, and knowing the important benefits of breastfeeding, the main scientific societies (UNICEF, WHO, BFHI, La Liga de la Leche) encourage mothers to breastfeed, always taking the pertinent precautions: washing hands before and after breastfeeding. breastfeed, wear a surgical mask, and clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated. If the mother is too ill, she can express her milk (following the same hygienic measures and cleaning and disinfecting the breast pump later) and have another person give it to her later.

The Spanish Society of Neonatology, in its most current protocol, also recommends breastfeeding from birth as long as the clinical conditions of the mother and baby allow it and taking the precautions described above.

It is convenient for parents to inform themselves, talk with their doctors and make the most appropriate decisions for the health of their newborns in each circumstance.

In Babies and more | The first coronavirus-free premature baby is born by caesarean section of an infected pregnant woman, The second healthy baby is born to a mother with coronavirus in Spain

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