Newborn with Covid: symptoms and risks

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Newborn with Covid: symptoms and risks

It rarely happens, but it can happen that even a newborn gets sick with Covid. It can depend on many factors and, if children rarely risk serious consequences, it is good to know how to recognize symptoms and treat them promptly. So how to deal with a newborn with Covid?





In this article

  • Because babies can get Covid
  • The transmission of mother-child Covid during pregnancy
  • How to recognize Covid in newborns
  • How to prevent a newborn from getting Covid

Because babies can get Covid

Many think that a neonate, for having been in the womb for nine months, has automatically inherited the antibodies from the mother. But it is not entirely true: indeed, i newborn babies risk much more if exposed to infections, viral and bacterial, in fact, cases of sepsis occur mainly among the youngest (and among those with a fragile immune system), especially among those born before the term. So yes, newborns can get Covid because they are not protected by anything, if not by a possible vaccine from the mother. 



The transmission of mother-child Covid during pregnancy

The first question you ask pregnant women is if, in the case of positivity to Covid-19, can transmit the virus to the child. If this possibility was initially ruled out, new studies have shown that there is a small percentage of the likelihood of it happening. In this case we speak of "vertical" transmission, which affects around 4-5% of pregnant women and their children. 



The main problem, however, lies in verifying whether the neonate has been infected: it is not enough to subject him to test, but it is necessary to do an analysis of the placenta, of the amniotic fluid, etc., to understand if the transmission actually took place in the uterus or at the time of birth. 

Also read: Covid is not transmitted to newborn while breastfeeding, the study

How to recognize Covid in newborns

It is therefore important to define whether the neonate it is positive at birth and when it became positive to monitor it and not expose it to risks, and also to avoid separating mother and child. In addition to the test that we have mentioned, the newborn is subjected to classic tampons to check for the coronavirus. 

But if the mother does not have the Covid and child is already home, what are the symptoms to pay attention to? The rules are the same as for children and adults: dry cough, irregular and / or labored breathing, apnea, fever, cold, malaise. There are very few cases in which a neonate becomes infected outside the hospital (for a positive mother, usually), and even rarer cases where the infection requires a hospitalization or of intensive therapy. If your child has been in contact with a positive or exhibits symptoms attributable to Covid, talk to the doctor and take a swab, do not underestimate.

How to prevent a newborn from getting Covid

But there is a way to reduce the (already low) odds that a newborn becomes infected with Covid: vaccination in pregnancy. As with other vaccines (for example that against whooping cough, now recommended for pregnant women during the last quarter), get vaccinated against Coronavirus also protects the fetus, which then will be protected at the time of birth and for some time. Recall that the vaccine does not make you immune from Covid, but it limits ICU admissions and deaths by 95%. 

Gynecologists and pediatricians therefore agree in recommending the vaccine to pregnant women, after careful analysis of the patient's medical history. 

If you pregnant and you fear that your child, frail and defenseless at birth, may be infected with Covid, think about the vaccination in pregnancy. If, on the other hand, your child has symptoms of the infection, talk to the pediatrician immediately: in most cases the little ones risk nothing, but i Infants, due to their not yet fully developed immune systems, they may be more vulnerable. We also remind you that infants cannot wear a mask.

SOURCES

Definition and categorization of the timing of mother-to-child transmission of SARS-CoV-2 

Vaccination against COVID-19 in pregnancy and breastfeeding

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  • coronavirus
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