Breaking away from their previous guidance, the CDC now says pregnant women with COVID-1

9 are at a higher risk than non-pregnant women.


A new study adds to growing evidence that mothers may not need to be separated from their newborn after delivery, even after testing positive for COVID-19.

Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center have found no evidence of transmission from infected mothers to newborns, according to an observational study published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The study included 101 babies and 100 mothers, with one mom giving birth to twins. Ninety-nine mothers tested positive for COVID-19 and one tested negative, but had clinical symptoms consistent with the disease.

Out of 100 mothers, 91 chose to breastfeed and 76 chose to stay in the same room as their newborn. Nursing mothers wore a mask and practiced breast and hand hygiene. Those who slept with their newborn saw them physically spaced out in an islet about 6 feet away.

“Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers, including those with clinical symptoms, and their infants may not need to be separated,” the authors concluded. However, this was only true when transmission mitigation practices were implemented.

In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology recommended pregnant women who have been infected with COVID-19 to be separated from their newborn for up to a week or more. to stop the potential spread of the virus from mother to child.

However, both have since updated the guidelines. ACOG states that separating mother and baby after birth should be “a shared decision-making process with the patient, his family and the clinical team”.

The association recommends rooming-in be combined with safety measures such as wearing a mask, practicing hand hygiene, and engineering control barriers to keep the infant 6 feet away from the mother as often as possible.

“Rooming-in is a key practice to encourage and support breastfeeding,” ACOG said in a statement. But it also recognizes that there may be some special circumstances in which temporary separation is appropriate.


Wendy Figueroa was hospitalized with fever, headache and other symptoms. Two days later, her little Alexa was born with COVID-19.


Dr Oluwatosin Goje, an obstetrician and gynecologist and infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, said the study should be reassuring for all mothers who want to breastfeed, regardless of their COVID-19 test results.

Breastfeeding has long been associated with reduced rates of diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes, said Rebecca H. McCormick, president of La Leche League USA, an organization not profit that supports breastfeeding.

The study authors also state in their analysis that breast milk can help prevent infection as it is known to protect against numerous pathogens and has been found to contain immunoglobulin A, an antibody capable of fighting coronavirus.

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“COVID-19 is still an emerging infectious disease and as more data becomes available, I am confident that the CDC, ACOG and hospitals will continue to change their guidelines,” Goje said. “We all want to practice evidence-based medicine, I know that.”

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Patient health and safety coverage in USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not make editorial contributions.

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