What Risk Does COVID-19 Pose to My Newborn?

COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — continues to spread across the country, causing surges in hospital admissions and the postponement of elective procedures in hospitals.

Yet one common reason for a hospital stay presents its own special circumstances, as it can’t be scheduled or postponed — delivering a baby.

“Expecting mothers have a heightened sense of concern for the well-being of their newborns, with coronavirus being as contagious as it is,” said Michael Geria, D.O., a board-certified obstetrician and Vice President of Academic Affairs for Inspira Health. “However, we do know some things about the relationship between COVID-19, pregnancy and newborns that should lessen these concerns.”

Here are some of those observations, explained by Dr. Geria.

I’m Planning on Breastfeeding. Should I Reconsider?

There is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through breast milk. The virus is currently known to spread through respiratory droplets; while breastfeeding is not a concern, it may be wise to take other precautionary measures.

“Aside from feeding, infants spend great amounts of time in the presence of their parents, so it is important to consider how to protect them around the clock,” said Dr. Geria. “Wearing a mask while holding a newborn, along with adequate hand-washing, will minimize risks for the infant, according to the CDC.”

Is It Safe to Go to The Hospital?

Hospitals and health care systems have implemented strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within health care facilities. Anybody who is suspected of having the virus, or needs to otherwise be evaluated for the virus, is being isolated from non-COVID-19 patients.

The restricting of visitors to a single support partner for maternity patients is another measure being taken to protect patients.

“Currently, a woman in labor at an Inspira maternity center can be accompanied by one support partner. The support partner must stay inside our unit from the day of admission until discharge,” said Dawn Goffredo, RN-C, MSN, administrative director for Maternal Child Health at Inspira. If a woman in labor has a certified doula, the doula can stay as part of the care team in addition to the one support partner. Policies for woman in labor may change over the course of the response to COVID-19. Inspira patients can learn more from their provider, by calling the Inspira COVID information line at (800) 772-2848 or here.

“If you go into labor now, expect to see your doctors and nurses in more protective equipment than you are used to,” said Dr. Geria. “While this may be scary at first, understand that these practices will help keep you and your baby safe.”

Any concerns that you may have about your pregnancy should be brought to the attention of your obstetrician or midwife, who can offer you guidance and information specific to your region and individual hospital as well.

Learn more about Inspira’s three maternity centers in southern New Jersey here.