Study finds pregnant women with COVID-19 give normal births

Washington: Researchers have found that babies born to women who were infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy have shown reassuring patterns of growth and development at six-month follow-up.

The research has been published in the ‘Journal of Perinatal Medicine’.

“Our results should be reassuring to pregnant women with COVID-19 who are worried about how the virus might affect the baby,” said senior author Malika Shah, MD, a neonatologist at Lurie Children’s and Medical Director of the Prentice Women’s Hospital Newborn Nursery, as well as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

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“At 6-month follow-up, we observed normal growth patterns and developmental milestones, with the rate of developmental referrals not higher than what we normally see. This is very good news during the pandemic that has been especially hard on populations facing health inequities and disproportionate impact of COVID-19,” she added.

The study included 33 publicly insured women and their infants, all of whom identified as Latinx. While all of the women had COVID-19 during pregnancy, 55 per cent tested positive within 10 days of delivery. None of the infants in the study tested positive for COVID-19. Three of the infants (10 per cent) were born premature, and five infants (15 per cent) required neonatal intensive care for conditions unrelated to COVID-19.

The study followed infants born April-July 2020 before COVID-19 vaccines were available and prior to the emergence of concerning variants.

“As the pandemic persists and variants emerge, looking at longer-term outcomes is critical. FQHCs have been at the forefront of delivering care to vulnerable populations since the beginning. Partnerships with FQHCs, like Erie Family Health Center, make it feasible to conduct these studies.” said Dr Shah.

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