New CDC COVID-19 guidelines for mothers and babies taken case by case at Vanderbilt


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines for pregnant women who have tested positive for COVID-19 or those who are being monitored for the virus.

A 2-month-old is among the 312 positive COVID-19 cases in Davidson County.

According to the CDC, “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 [person under investigation] PUI from her baby until the mother’s transmission-based precautions are discontinued.”

Vanderbilt University medical experts said the CDC guidelines provide for flexibility for the mother and baby after delivery, so they’re treating this on a case by case basis.

“The guidelines really should be personalized and they do vary based on whether or not the person who has the COVID-19 is displaying symptoms. If they are COVID-19 positive but are among that 80 percent that has no fever, has no symptoms, at least here at Vanderbilt we’re encouraging mom to be with the baby,” said Vanderbilt University Pediatrician Dr. Joseph Gigante. “We want to do all that we can to encourage skin-to-skin contact and encourage maternal bonding with their newborn baby.”

The directors of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Neonatalology and Newborn Nursery units released the following joint statement regarding the CDC’s recommendations:

“Unlike other coronavirus epidemics, at this time there is no solid evidence for mother to baby transmission of COVID-19 during pregnancy, known as “vertical transmission”. Centers across the U.S. are joining forces to be sure we are vigilant to this possibility. We recognize that there are many things that we don’t know.

Mothers are of great importance to the protection of their babies during the COVID pandemic. Before birth COVID-19 exposed mothers are important sources of antibodies to the COVID virus that cross the placenta to the baby, and after delivery mothers provide antibodies through breastmilk.

The CDC guidelines provide for flexibility regarding the mother and baby after delivery, and each center needs to take their patients and their healthcare setting into consideration when setting their inpatient policies.

Good handwashing and use of a mask are effective ways to reduce mother to baby exposure after birth. For mothers who don’t have a fever and are feeling well enough to engage in good hygiene practices after delivery, we support rooming in with the baby in a protective incubator and breastfeeding both in the hospital. For mothers who have a fever, or who can’t engage in good hygiene practices, we will encourage pumping to provide breastmilk for feedings while the nursery staff manages the care of the infant.

Breastfeeding with good hand washing and the use of a mask should continue at home, and every caregiver should wash their hands and wear a mask when caring for the baby in order to minimize transmission of COVID-19 from caregivers in the household to the baby.”

· Susan Guttentag, MD, Julia Carell Stadler Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Mildred Stahlman Division of Neonatology, Vanderbilt

· Anna Morad, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Newborn Nursey, Vanderbilt.

Dr. Gigante said parents should also keep in mind that like the rest of the country, children in Nashville still are not testing positive for COVID-19 as often as adults and the cases are not as severe.

“Even with the 2-month-old who got sick, oftentimes the symptoms that we see with coronavirus mirror what you see with flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Gigante. “They may have a fever, they may have some cough, decreased energy, and decreased appetite, those would be the things to be on the lookout.”

He said if the child is working harder to breathe in addition to those symptoms, the parent should reach out to their child’s doctor.

Dr. Gigante adds that parents should encourage their kids to not spread the virus through social distancing and proper handwashing.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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