COVID-19 during pregnancy isn't likely to impact infants' health, study finds

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At six-month check-ups, infants showed no signs of poor growth or altered development

A new study conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Chicago explored how infants’ health is affected when their mothers contract COVID-19 during pregnancy

According to the findings, infants’ growth and development reached normal, healthy levels by the time they reached six months old even if their mothers were infected with COVID-19 when they were in utero.

“Our results should be reassuring to pregnant women with COVID-19 who are worried about how the virus might affect the baby,” said researcher Dr. Malika Shah. “At six-month follow-up, we observed normal growth patterns and developmental milestones, with the rate of development referrals not higher than what we normally see. This is very good news during the pandemic that has been especially hard on populations facing health inequities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.” 

Infants’ health may not be compromised by COVID-19

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from over 30 infants born between April 2020, and July 2020. Fifty-five percent of the mothers tested positive within 10 days of giving birth, and none of the infants tested positive at the time of birth. The researchers tracked the infants’ health outcomes during their first six months after birth.

Ultimately, the researchers found that infants born to mothers who had COVID-19 were just as healthy as infants who had no connection to the virus. Findings showed that the Infants were growing normally, the large majority were up to date on their vaccines, and that their parents were consistent with taking infants to follow-up appointments. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope more studies look into how infants’ health is affected when mothers contract COVID-19 during pregnancy. 

“As the pandemic persists and variants emerge, looking at longer-term outcomes is critical,” Shah said. 

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