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Coronavirus Latest: Newborns, Mothers May Be Separated After Birth Under New CDC Guidelines

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Newborn babies could be separated from their mothers after birth to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, under new CDC guidelines. This would be for the cases where the mother tested positive for COVID-19 or is a presumptive case awaiting results according to a Johns Hopkins doctor who said skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding could result in an exposure.


"It comes down to an assessment of risk versus benefits," Dr. Jeanne Sheffield, professor and Director of Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Johns Hopkins, said to USA Today.

Right now there's no reason to believe coronavirus can be transmitted through breastmilk. However, in the process of breastfeeding, positive mothers could transmit respiratory illness through droplets.

"Right now, we have come down to say that the risk of skin-to-skin breastfeeding COVID positive moms is high enough, Sheffield said to USA Today.

She also suggested nursing moms with COVID-19 have a healthy person feed the baby and use a designated pump, according to USA Today.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers who test positive for COVID-19 or are a person under investigation (PUI) should be separated from their newborns to prevent the spread.

The CDC released new recommendations said: "It is unknown whether newborns with COVID-19 are at increased risk for severe complications. Transmission after birth via contact with infectious respiratory secretions is a concern. To reduce the risk of  transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 from the mother to the newborn, facilities should consider temporarily separating (e.g., separate rooms) the mother who has confirmed COVID-19 or is a PUI from her baby until the mother's transmission-based precautions are discontinued."


A local doctor said pregnant women shouldn't be scared to deliver babies in hospitals amid the pandemic.

"Women are obviously very concerned, especially pregnant women, about COVID itself," said Dr.  Elizabeth Zadzielski, an OBGYN at Sinai Hospital.

While home births are growing in popularity, Dr. Zadzielski said fears over the coronavirus shouldn't force expecting mothers to change their birth plans.

"I don't want women to be afraid about coming in to have their baby and have them deliver their babies at home because of the fear of coming to the hospital." She said.

She reassures expectant mothers that new policies are being put into place.

Read more on the guidance on the CDC's website.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.



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