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COVID-19 During Pregnancy and Some Reassuring News About the Baby

Some good news for women who had a Covid-19 infection during pregnancy - one small study found reassuring results about the growth and development of the babies. The Northwestern University researchers found that at the 6 month checkup the babies overall had normal growth patterns and developmental milestones. This is great, great news!

Yes, it was a small study (33 low-income women and their babies). Three infants (10%) did receive development-related referrals (one had an underlying genetic diagnosis) - but the "referrals not higher" than what the physicians said they normally see. More good news: none of the babies tested positive for COVID-19.

From Science Daily: Normal 6-month outcomes in babies of women with COVID-19 during pregnancy

Babies born to women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy showed reassuring patterns of growth and development at 6-month follow-up, according to a study from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern Medicine in partnership with Erie Family Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves a diverse and low-income patient population. 

The study, published in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine, reports on infant outcomes from the longest follow-up to date of prenatal exposure to COVID-19.

"Our results should be reassuring to pregnant women with COVID-19 who are worried about how the virus might affect the baby," said senior author Malika Shah, MD, a neonatologist at Lurie Children's and Medical Director of the Prentice Women's Hospital Newborn Nursery, as well as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "At 6-month follow-up, we observed normal growth patterns and developmental milestones, with the rate of developmental 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 disproportionate impact of COVID-19."

The study included 33 publicly insured women and their infants, all of whom identified as Latinx. While all of the women had COVID-19 during pregnancy, 55 percent tested positive within 10 days of delivery. None of the infants in the study tested positive for COVID-19. Three of the infants (10 percent) were born premature, and five infants (15 percent) required neonatal intensive care for conditions unrelated to COVID-19.

The study followed infants born April-July 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines were available and prior to the emergence of concerning variants.

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