Our New Studies Offer First COVID-19 in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Investigations

Researchers at the Center for Better Beginnings have launched two new studies examining the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

An observational study coordinated by our MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies is currently enrolling women with known or suspected COVID-19 infection during a current or recent pregnancy or within 30 days of a woman’s last menstrual period before conception.

“To date, there are only a few case reports of pregnancy outcomes following maternal infection with this new virus,” said our Co-Director Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, lead investigator of MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and current president of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), the non-profit organization comprised of birth defects experts and which provides the no-cost MotherToBaby information service. “However, prior research on respiratory infections, such as seasonal influenza, has indicated that pregnant women in general are at higher risk than non-pregnant women for complications from the infection, which in turn can lead to more common pregnancy complications, such as preterm delivery. In addition, a high fever early in pregnancy may pose a risk for the developing fetus.”

The study will recruit pregnant women who reside anywhere in the United States or Canada.  Mothers will be interviewed by telephone over the course of their pregnancy and postpartum period and will be asked to release relevant medical records from their and their baby’s health care providers. This information will be used to assess the course of pregnancy and outcomes for both mother and infant. This work will be coordinated with other efforts being initiated throughout the U.S. and other countries.

In addition, our Mommy’s Milk: Human Milk Biorepository is launching a study looking at breastfeeding women with known or suspected COVID-19 infection. Using a common protocol developed in coordination with UC San Diego’s MOMI CORE, mothers will be interviewed by phone and will be asked to provide some biological samples from themselves and their infant, including a sample of breast milk. Information will also be gathered on the infant’s growth and developmental outcomes.

“Women and their health care providers need answers as quickly as possible regarding the effects of COVID-19 during pregnancy and while breastfeeding,” said Chambers. “We know that pregnant and breastfeeding moms are contracting COVID-19, but the fact of the matter is that we know very little about its short-and long-term effects on a developing baby.”

If you would like to join our important new studies, please contact us for more information.

Enroll in the COVID-19 in Pregnancy Study

Join the COVID-19 in Breastfeeding Study