Many things about our way of life are changing in current times because of the current coronavirus pandemic. We are all taking measures to try to slow down the spread of this virus but some are considering a measure many deem ‘extreme.’
According to the CDC, pregnant mothers who are confirmed to have COVID-19 should have their infants isolated and monitored once born. This because it is not yet known whether newborns are at more of a risk for severe complications as well as the sad fact that while mother and baby want to be together this virus could through being with one another transmit to the freshly born child. I know, this might sound a bit out there and no one likes the concept of being separated from the baby they had just given birth to but it is for the protection of said child and once all is said and done mother and baby will be reunited.
The CDC wrote as follows regarding this kind of situation on their website:
The risks and benefits of temporary separation of the mother from her baby should be discussed with the mother by the healthcare team.
A separate isolation room should be available for the infant while they remain a PUI. Healthcare facilities should consider limiting visitors, with the exception of a healthy parent or caregiver. Visitors should be instructed to wear appropriate PPE, including gown, gloves, face mask, and eye protection. If another healthy family or staff member is present to provide care (e.g., diapering, bathing) and feeding for the newborn, they should use appropriate PPE. For healthy family members, appropriate PPE includes gown, gloves, face mask, and eye protection. For healthcare personnel, recommendations for appropriate PPE are outlined in the Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations.
The decision to discontinue temporary separation of the mother from her baby should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with clinicians, infection prevention and control specialists, and public health officials. The decision should take into account disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2. Considerations to discontinue temporary separation are the same as those to discontinue transmission-based precautions for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Please see Interim Considerations for Disposition of Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19.
From there it was also noted that if this kind of thing is not possible depending on the circumstances within each specific hospital physical barriers should be used if at least a curtain between the mother and newborn. However, in the case there is no healthy adult around to care for the child the mother should do her best to remain masked and keep the chances of exposure lower. This is a learning experience for all of us and while it’s scary to think about, its something we all need to be aware of.
According to 13 On Your Side WGME, this kind of thing could keep mother and child separated for up to two weeks but its goal is to prevent the newborn from contracting the virus. The Johns Hopkins Hospital follows these guidelines but also notes that ultimately they are giving the mother ‘the final say.’ But at the end of the day, I am sure mothers are going to do what they need to do in order to keep their babies safe.
This is a very trying period we’re in right now and it’s only going to get worse. Keep everyone who is suffering right now in your thoughts. Hopefully, in time, everything will get better.