What is the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to newborns?

Breastfeeding, Mother, Mother'S Love

Bottom Line:

The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from mothers to newborns is low when proper masking and hand hygiene is practiced.


Salvatore, C. et al. Neonatal management and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic: An observation cohort study. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/s2352-4642(20)30235-2

Date Published:

23 July 2020


The risk of a newborn developing COVID-19 during the time when they’re born is currently unknown. To determine how to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19 during the newborn period and to figure out risk factors associated with transmission, researchers in New York tested newborns for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) for up to 14 days of life. During the study, mothers were allowed to practice skin-to-skin care and breastfeed in the delivery room as long as they were wearing a mask and practicing proper hand hygiene. There were 82 newborns in the study who were identified as being born to mothers with COVID-19. By day 14, however, none of the newborns tested positive for COVID-19. The results of this study suggest that, with proper hand hygiene and masking, breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact are safe during the newborn period.

Summary by: Louis Huynh