After recording three instances of vertical transmission of Covid-19, the Wadia hospital along with National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH) is going to study placenta of 100 Covid-infected pregnant women giving birth at the hospital.
The study will throw more light on role of placenta in transmission of the virus from mother to baby and Covid complications.
Dr Minni Bodhanwala, Chief Executive Officer, Wadia hospital, said over 200 women infected with Covid-19 have delivered at the hospital. “After every delivery we immediately test the newborn for Covid-19. In three cases, the newborns tested positive. We took all preventive measures during delivery to prevent infection spread. These three could only be cases of vertical transmission,” she said.
It remains unclear why or how vertical transmission occurs. Dr Smita Mahale, director of NIRRH, said most pregnant women infected with Covid-19 remain asymptomatic or mildly ill. “We need more research to understand complications of Covid in pregnant women,” she said.
Dr Deepak Modi, placenta biologist in NIRRH, said vertical transmission occurs in three steps — first pregnant woman is infected, then the virus travels and breaks through barrier of placenta, and then it affects amniotic fluid and foetus.
“After Covid-infected women deliver, we will collect their placenta, cord blood cells, amniotic fluid and test them for Covid-19. This will help in understanding in how many cases the virus transmits to foetus,” Modi said.
In Wadia hospital mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their newborns after they disinfect their hands and wear masks. Doctors said mother’s milk is the best immunity booster for a newborn.