One of the reasons why the COVID-19 pandemic has been so dangerous is that researchers know very little about how the virus behaves. They are still trying to understand how it can be treated and there is no effective vaccine currently available.
Many expecting parents are concerned that COVID-19 poses a risk to their baby. It’s only natural to wonder if the virus can be passed from mother to child and what are the risks involved if this happens.
A new study from Chinese researchers may hold some of the answers to these questions. The study, published in the journal The Lancet, found that no intrauterine foetal infection occurred in women who were infected with COVID-19 during a late stage of pregnancy. In other words, COVID-19 infection was not passed onto the foetus while in utero.
The aim of the study was to investigate how a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia affected pregnant women. The researchers were specifically interested in vertical transmission potential, which is the possibility that a pregnant women might pass an infection onto their unborn child.
The study was conducted between January 20th – 31st 2020 and involved nine pregnant women. The women had all been admitted to Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, China, with COVID-19 symptoms. They were all in their third trimester.
The women all had caesarian sections after being diagnosed with pneumonia with acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2). The researchers collected amniotic fluid samples at the time of delivery in order to assess if the virus was present. Additionally, cord blood, neonatal throat swabs, and breastmilk samples were also collected.
What were the results?
The research team found that all of the samples taken tested negative for the virus. They also found that none of the women or their babies contracted severe pneumonia and no fatalities were reported. These results are very reassuring for expecting parents who may be worried about what happens if a mother contracts COVID-19.