June 13, 2021

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Caring for newborns when the mother has COVID-19


Photo: EPA PHOTO / EPA / ZHOU YIN //

Little is known about the risks of COVID-19 for newborns of mothers with the virus; however, it is known that COVID-19 is rare in newborns of mothers who had COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Additionally, some newborns are known to have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after birth. However, it is unknown whether these newborns contracted the virus before, during or after birth.

The data suggests that the majority of newborns who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. However, there are some reports of newborns becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

Current evidence suggests that the risk of a newborn contracting COVID-19 from its mother is low, especially if she takes the recommended steps (such as wearing a mask and washing her hands) to prevent the spread before and during the care of her newborn. born.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of having your newborn stay in the same room with you.

Being with your newborn baby in the same room has the advantage of facilitating breastfeeding and the bond between mother and newborn. If possible, the CDC advises that you start this conversation before the baby is born.

If you are in isolation due to COVID-19, take the following CDC-recommended precautions until your period of isolation has ended:

  • Stay home to separate yourself from other people outside your home.
  • Isolate yourself (stay away) from other household members who are not infected, and wear a mask in shared spaces.
  • Ask a healthy caregiver who is not at increased risk of serious illness to take care of your newborn.
    • Caregivers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before touching their newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • If your caregiver lives in the same home or has been in close contact with you, you may have been exposed to the virus. This person should wear a mask when they are within 6 feet of your newborn for the entire time you are in isolation, and during their own quarantine after you finish yours.
  • If you don’t have the help of a healthy caregiver, you can care for your newborn if he or she is feeling well.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching your newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Wear a mask when you are within 6 feet of your newborn and others throughout your isolation period. The mask helps prevent you from spreading the virus to other people.
  • Other members of your household, and caregivers who have COVID-19, should isolate themselves and avoid caring for the newborn as much as possible. If they must care for the newborn, they should follow the hand washing and mask use recommendations above.

When your isolation period is over, you should continue washing your hands before caring for your newborn, but you do not need to take the other precautions. You will most likely not pass the virus to your newborn or any other close contact after your isolation period is over.



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