ADDIS ABABA – A 34-year-old woman, who tested positive for the coronavirus, gave birth to a baby boy in a hospital, ministry of health said on Monday.
The mom – who is in an isolation center after testing positive for the virus – gave birth in Eka Kottebe General Hospital, which is serving as the major COVID 19 treatment in Addis Ababa.
In a Twitter post, the ministry said lab test shows that the baby does not have the virus. The mother has to wait to hold her baby until she tested negative for coronavirus.
The woman is one of the 423 patients who under treatment in various COVID-19 medical centers across Ethiopia – a country that confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on March 13 and so far reported 582 positive cases including five deaths.
Health officials also said that 152 patients who tested positive for Covid-19 have so far recovered from the virus.
There are few studies on the subject to mother to baby transmission during pregnancy.
Ministry of Health says there is a small chance of transmission – a position supported by a recent preliminary study in Britain.
The study looked at 427 pregnant women who were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 between March 1 and April 14. Its outcome is reassuring.
One-in-20 born to the mothers in the study tested positive for COVID-19, but only half of these positive tests were immediately after birth.
This suggests transmission of infection from mother to baby is low, the researchers said.
Andrew Shennan, a professor of obstetrics at King’s College London who was not directly involved in either study, told Reuters that the UK research was the “most systematic look” so far at pregnancy outcomes in COVID-19 patients.
“Pregnant women can be reassured by this,” he said. “The outcomes are excellent for the baby, with 97% live births, very similar to a control group (and) the chance of serious problems to the mother are very similar to non-pregnant populations.”
Worldwide, an estimated 116 million babies are expected to be born under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to UNICEF. These babies are projected to be born up to 40 weeks after COVID-19 – currently straining health systems and medical supply chains all over the world – was recognized as a pandemic on March 11.