A new study from JAMA Pediatrics has found that when a person is infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy COVID-19 fighting antibodies can be transferred to their baby for virus protection.
The study measured COVID-19 antibodies in 83 new mothers who showed coronavirus symptoms between April 9, 2020, and August 8, 2020.
The study found the new mothers passed a measurable amount of antibodies to their newborns, meaning the babies could be born with some protection against COVID-19.
Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine says the study provides solid evidence of maternal-fetal immune-communication during pregnancy. The process is designed to protect the child from infections as it transitions from life inside the womb to outside the womb, and it appears protections from COVID are no exception.
“We like to think of this as a ‘womb with a view’ meaning that it is important for the pregnant woman to prepare her developing fetus for what it will encounter at birth,” she said.
“We have of course recognized for decades that antibodies cross the placenta to the fetus, but this is very sound evidence that there is the potential for protective neonatal immunity to COVID-19,” she added.
The study highlights that inclusion of pregnant women in clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine is essential, Dr. Mark Turrentine, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine explained.
“Particularly when the benefit of vaccination is greater than the potential risk of a life-threatening disease. Pregnant women should be given the opportunity to make their own decision as to whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and that barriers should not be put in place to prevent access and hinder the ability of pregnant individuals to protect themselves from a virus that could potentially be life-threatening,” he added.
“This is absolutely fantastic, and gives hope with sound science that by vaccinating pregnant women we ought to be able to get a ‘twofer’ with early antibody protection delivered still inside the womb.”
Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President, Dr. John Thoppil, told RA News in mid-January, there is no reason to expect pregnant women to have any greater risk with vaccination than the general population.
Here are tips for pregnant women on reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 and our coverage on where Texas stands on parental leave and pregnancy leave.