COVID can transfer from mom to baby in utero—with potentially disastrous health consequences. Here’s what parents need to know

Researchers with the College of Miami documented the instances of two infants born to moms who had COVID throughout being pregnant. Each infants examined adverse for the virus at beginning, however skilled seizures, delays in developmental milestones, and a head dimension that turned disproportionately small with time.

Each infants ultimately died.

Whereas such outcomes are uncommon, those that are pregnant or planning to turn out to be pregnant have to be cognizant of the dangers COVID poses to fetuses, Dr. Shahnaz Duara, a neonatologist on the College of Miami’s Miller College of Drugs and senior writer on the paper, tells Fortune.

“Most younger people who find themselves child-producing age deal with COVID as if it’s going to be slightly viral an infection, and so they don’t wish to hassle with getting vaccinated or taking precautions,” he says. 

“They’re considering it’s not going to make them sick. And it doesn’t. However it could have a big effect on the child.”

Medical professionals had been already conscious that roughly two or three infants out of each thousand are born COVID-positive, with some reviews of stillbirth amongst them. It’s attainable that extra infants whose moms had COVID whereas pregnant have been born neurologically impacted. Medical doctors could not have linked the dots as a result of the infants didn’t take a look at constructive for the virus at beginning, Duara says, or as a result of the neurological points have but to floor.

Within the instances Duara and his workforce studied, the virus was found in infants’ tissue–a discovering that will usually solely happen at post-mortem, and provided that well being professionals had been on the lookout for it, he notes.

“There could have been different instances like this which have gone unrecognized,” he says. “Others would have stated, ‘This may’t be COVID; the infants didn’t swab constructive.’ However possibly [the babies] didn’t get studied to the extent we studied” these infants.

Duara hopes the brand new analysis raises consciousness amongst dad and mom and medical professionals alike.

Reassuringly, the moms’ instances seem uncommon. One was extremely sick with COVID for weeks throughout mid-2020, and the opposite seems to have been contaminated twice throughout her being pregnant throughout early 2021, however by no means had signs. Each moms had been round 25 weeks of gestation when uncovered to the virus, and neither had been vaccinated. However different patterns may result in related outcomes. That’s what researchers try to determine now, Duara says.

Recommendation about COVID-related being pregnant issues

His message to moms-to-be: “Use the identical precautions you’d in your grandparents, for these on steroids or who’re immunocompromised,” he says. 

  • Think about getting the COVID vaccine forward of getting pregnant, or early in your being pregnant.
  • For those who’re ready, breastfeed your baby a minimum of till 6 months of age, after they’re eligible for his or her first COVID vaccine. If a mom has immunity to COVID, she will switch antibodies to her child through breast milk.
  • Different precautions, together with masking, may help cut back the chance of turning into contaminated with COVID whereas pregnant.

On the subject of infants whose moms had COVID throughout being pregnant, he recommends dad and mom inform their pediatrician, and report any delays in developmental milestones, in addition to behavioral variations and listening to points.

“The message actually is that we don’t know a lot about this virus but–we’ve solely been at it for 4 years,” he says. “However we all know that in particular populations, [the virus] behaves in particular methods.”

“We all know concerning the aged, what it does to them. Infants are additionally in danger, although we don’t know but if that danger is throughout the board, or if there are particular factors in gestation which might be in danger, or one thing in [infants’] personal information that makes them extra weak,” he provides, noting that genetic testing has not but been carried out on infants.

At this level, researchers have extra questions than solutions, Duara says. However they know one factor: COVID in being pregnant is an issue.

Notes Duara: “Maybe it’s solely an issue for a handful of individuals, however it’s an issue.”