COVID-19: Can infected pregnant women still breastfeed later?
COVID-19: Can infected pregnant women still breastfeed later?. A pregnant woman diagnosed with COVID-19 in Singapore has tested antibodies to her baby boy. Can she still breastfeed?
According to a business insider website, a Singaporean woman who was infected with the COVID-19 virus during pregnancy successfully gave birth to an uninfected baby in early November. The more encouraging news is that protective antibodies from the mother were found in the baby.
In March of this year, this woman named Celine Ng-Chan was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia at 10 weeks of pregnancy. This is the initial stage of virus research, and no one knows what effect the virus will have on her and her children. In November, her son Aldrin was born smoothly, at which time she herself tested negative for the virus. No new coronavirus was detected in the child, and protective antibodies were also detected.
Ng-Chan said that the entire pregnancy and delivery process was smooth sailing. I am very happy that the child is very healthy and feel relieved that the journey of COVID-19 is finally over.
Pediatrician and neonatologist Jessica Madden said that this case reminds us that mother-to-child transmission of the new coronavirus is very rare. Even pregnant women who test positive for the virus at birth can also provide breastfeeding through a “protective airflow breast pump”.
Madden said that a small-scale study in March of this year showed that pregnant women who tested positive for the virus could pass IgG antibodies with anti-viral capabilities to their fetuses. A total of 6 pregnant women infected with the virus in the study, 5 of them had elevated antibody levels, all of which were asymptomatic infections. They wore masks, gave birth by caesarean section in the negative pressure isolation room, and were isolated immediately after delivery. None of the babies were infected.
In a report in October, antibodies were found in a pregnant woman with asymptomatic infection, and the virus test of the baby was negative, proving that the placenta has the ability to “passive immunity”. It can be said that this immunity is expected, because IgG antibodies produced against other bacteria and viruses can protect fetuses and newborns from infectious diseases. For example, during pregnancy, we recommend injections of whooping cough and flu vaccines, especially after 36 weeks of pregnancy, to increase the corresponding antibodies in the fetus.
Of course, further observations and studies are needed on the impact of the time point of the pregnant woman’s viral infection and the severity of the infection on the level of antibodies in the baby’s body, and how strong or durable the baby’s immunity is. If the virus is infected before pregnancy, whether the mother can still provide immunoglobulin to the fetus after the mother recovers, there is still insufficient evidence in this regard.
Madden said that women who have been infected also have protective antibodies in their breast milk. A study in September showed that none of the 37 breast milk samples contained the virus, and all samples contained antibodies that can neutralize the virus. Breastfeeding can also reduce diabetes, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome and other gastrointestinal diseases. According to the United States CDC and other health organizations, the advantages of breastfeeding have exceeded the undiscovered risks. Mothers infected with the virus can breastfeed safely by wearing masks, washing hands, and washing their breasts.