As more changes due to COVID-19 on a regular basis, researchers are now suggesting that pregnant women about to give birth should have more widespread testing given.
Last week, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that more than a quarter of asymptomatic women tested on delivery wards at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital came up as positive for COVID-19.
According to the research, more than 1 in 8 asymptomatic pregnant women about to give birth tested positive for COVID-19, confirming that mothers and caregivers of children may not know they are infected with the virus, and can’t take any precautions against it as a result. Because the effects of COVID-19 on newborns are so minimally known or studied, the scientist believe that all pregnant women about to deliver should be tested to educate both the mother and her caregivers.
Saying that the benefits of the universal testing approach for pregnant women would help the hospitals determine isolation practice and bed assignment needs, as well as to prepare neonatal care units should they be needed. The knowledge would allow all those who come in contact with the birthing mother to use the appropriate personal protective equipment, and help protect mothers, babies and the health care teams.
The data results come from 215 pregnant women who gave birth at the two hospitals in New York between March 22 and April 4, 2020. Four women who tested positive for COVID-19 when they were admitted had symptoms that were related. The other 29 pregnant women who tested positive, however, showed NO symptoms, and had no reason to believe they’d test positive.
Current research subscribes to the notion that the mother-to-baby transmission of COVID-19 happens after the baby is born, and not while she is pregnant. If a mother knows she is positive, she can take steps to prevent her newborn from contracting the virus.
Another study recently published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology looked at cases from Columbia University Medical Center in New York. That study found that about 80% of pregnant women who have COVID-19 have mild cases and don’t get the life-threatening, severe symptoms we see and hear about.
And while that’s encouraging news, we seem to learn something new about this virus every day, and researchers believe that testing all mothers about to give birth can help prevent the spread of the virus to not only their caregivers, but to their new babies as well.
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