Henry Mayo OB/GYN cites study saying virus does not transfer from mother to fetus

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

A Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital OB/GYN cited a study Friday that said expecting mothers who are infected with the coronavirus are unlikely to pass the virus to their fetus.

Coronavirus Q&A: March 27, 2020

Larry Kidd, Ph.D., Henry Mayo’s Senior Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer, and Cecelia M. Hann, M.D., a local OB/GYN discuss questions pertaining to COVID-19 and pregnancies. If you have any COVID-19 related questions, submit them in the comment section below and they may be answered in future broadcasts.

Posted by Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital on Friday, March 27, 2020

The study, which was published by the medical journal The Lancet, examined nine mothers who were coronavirus-positive in Wuhan, China and gave birth.

“I would say with very limited information worldwide, it appears pregnant women and their infants seem to be, so far, OK,” said Dr. Cecelia Hann. “With a lot more cases coming up, we will probably have a lot more information, but that’s all we have so far to tell you.”

Hann said the hospital was prepared in the event that a pregnant woman comes in and has contracted COVID-19. But she emphasized again that pregnant mothers should not be worried about transmission with their unborn child.

“When they tested those (nine) infants whose mothers had COVID-19 they all tested negative,” said Hann. “So, surmising from those nine cases, they do not seem to be infecting their infants.”

Hann cited the American College of OB/GYN when she said that pregnant women should get the influenza vaccine. She also said that expecting mothers are at slightly higher risk for any respiratory infection, and that COVID-19 is no different. Therefore, pregnant women should always be washing their hands, social distancing and taking proper precautions.

“Because (by) protecting mothers, the pregnant women can also protect their infants,” Hann said.

The procedure, Hann said, should an infected mother give birth, would be to separate the mother and child in different rooms, a protocol dictated by the Centers of Disease Control. Hann said the mothers could still breast feed, but through pumping.

“We encourage mothers to pump with a mask on, and always washing her hands and using all the proper equipment that’s very sanitized,” said Hann. “Then the nurse will generally feed the baby and not the mothers.”

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