The Imperial County Health Department has identified 49 pregnant women that have tested positive for COVID-19, according to recent information released.
Imperial County Public Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday said it is important to take precautions so that the mother doesn’t transmit the virus through contact.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean for example that they wouldn’t allow the baby to breastfeed because I think all of us understand that breastfeeding is very important to a newborn. However, it’s carefully considered and if it is decided that it is appropriate that the baby should best breastfeed then precautions are taken to minimize the risk of transmission as much as possible,” Munday told Beyond Borders Gazette.
The Center For Disease Control says pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19.
The CDC recommends not to skip prenatal care appointments or postpartum appointments. If the person is concerned about attending the appointment due to COVID-19, talk to the healthcare provider.
Newborns can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after being in close contact with an infected person. Some babies have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth. It is unknown if these babies got the virus before, during, or after birth.
Most newborns who have tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and have recovered fully. However, there are a few reports of newborns with severe illness. A small number of other problems, such as preterm (early) birth and other problems with pregnancy and birth, have been reported in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19. It is not known if these problems were related to the virus.
CDC recognizes that the ideal setting for the care of a healthy, full-term newborn during the birth hospitalization is within the mother’s room. Temporary separation of the newborn from a mother with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be considered to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to the newborn. The risks and benefits of temporary separation of the mother from her newborn should be discussed with the mother by her healthcare team. Decisions about temporary separation should be made with respect to the mother’s wishes. If the mother chooses a temporary separation to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and would like to breastfeed, she should express breast milk and have a healthy caregiver who is not at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 bottle-feed the newborn the expressed breast milk if possible.
If the mother with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 does not choose temporary separation in the hospital, she should take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to the newborn, including washing her hands and wearing a cloth face covering when within 6 feet of her newborn. The newborn should be kept 6 feet away from the mother, as much as possible, including the use of physical barriers (e.g., placing the newborn in an incubator).