New study warns of possible link of pregnant women spreading COVID-19 to newborns

HOUSTON – A new study suggests expecting moms can possibly pass the coronavirus to their unborn babies. The study looked at 31 women in Italy that had COVID-19 and later gave birth.

“Out of these 31 different women, there were three instances that were suspicious for having transmitted SARS-COV-2 from mom to baby,” said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard.

Aagaard focuses on complicated pregnancies at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. She is familiar with the study.

“Some sort of transmission at very low levels, so rare instances, might be occurring but it wasn’t conclusive,” she said.

She said there are still many unanswered questions regarding the impact of COVID-19.

“What we don’t know is, even though this was a very small number that actually looked like they transmitted, were they actually transmitting virus or were they only detecting either evidence of antibodies in the baby, antibodies from the mom to the baby, or viral genetic material, but not necessarily live virus itself. That remains unknown,” Aagaard said.

On top of that, she said there are other issues healthcare providers have to keep an eye on.

“We and other people have published that there is a risk of stillbirth that occurs with moms, who are sick with COVID-19 disease. That is why we monitor these pregnancies very carefully,” she said.

Her advice for pregnant women: wear a mask, only go out when you need to and make good choices when you do and talk with your doctor.

Aagaard said doctors don’t know whether babies exposed to the virus, inside or outside of the womb, will have any health complications down the road. She said that answer will only come with time.