There is no indication that the new coronavirus (Covid-19) can be passed on to a fœtus during pregnancy or to a baby through breastfeeding, KU Leuven researchers noted in a study published in the medical journal ‘Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde’.
The researchers based their conclusion on data available internationally in studies on 37 women who tested positive for coronavirus. They also point out that international guidelines do not discourage breastfeeding by infected mothers. However, they note the need for mothers to observe strict rules of hygiene to avoid transmitting the virus to babies.
The researchers found a few examples in studies on pregnant women in which coronavirus infection might have had a negative impact on pregnancies, such as premature births and respiratory difficulties in newborns. However, the authors stress that it was not clear that these were actually caused by the infection.
35 of the 37 pregnancies studied ended in caesarian, but no direct link to the coronavirus could be established. Additionally, while pregnant women are more sensitive to respiratory germs, developing serious respiratory ailments more quickly, there was no indication that the coronavirus prevented an infected woman from giving birth normally.
However, complications and less favourable deliveries have been detected among pregnant women who had contracted another form of coronavirus in the past.