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Study suggests pregnant women can pass COVID-19 antibodies to unborn children

72 of 83 children in study had antibodies detected
Posted at 11:57 AM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 17:43:51-05

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A new study suggests pregnant women pass COVID-19 antibodies to their babies, potentially protecting them from infection.


Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia looked at 83 women who tested positive for antibodies at the time of their delivery.

Seventy-two of the babies also had antibodies detected in their cord blood -- regardless of whether their mother had symptoms of the virus.

Most had similar levels of antibodies as found in their mother's blood.

However, women infected earlier in their pregnancies transferred more antibodies to their babies.

The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Kinga Trzaska is expecting her fourth child and first girl. But this pregnancy hasn't been easy after she was recently diagnosed with COVID-19.

"I got COVID around Nov. 18, so I was about 22 weeks approaching the six-month mark," Trzaska said. "[I had a] relentless cough, feeling like you are in a smoke-filled room, not being able to smell or taste anything for two months."

Kinga Trzaska
Kinga Trzaska contracted COVID-19 while pregnant with her fourth child.

The study showed that the earlier in pregnancy a woman had COVID-19, the more antibodies would be transferred to the baby.

"What it shows us is if you get COVID-19 during pregnancy, you will pass natural immunity on to the fetus, which is exceptional. The IgG (Immunoglobulin G) will pass through the placenta, which is what we thought would happen," said Dr. Colette Brown-Graham, obstetrics and gynecology physician in Wellington.

But what about getting the vaccine? So far, pregnant women have not been included in the vaccine study.

"That's where it comes into play. Is the vaccine going to cause that same immunity? And I think that remains to be seen. We need to have studies that show that," Brown-Graham said.

Dr. Colette Brown-Graham
Dr. Colette Brown-Graham advises pregnant women to talk to their doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Brown-Graham has this advice for pregnant women.

"I think they should make a decision based on real information that they discuss with their physicians," she said.

Trzaska is just excited about the birth of her new daughter, which will happen in 10 weeks.

"I'm looking forward to just having a healthy baby and being healthy, and just not catching any viruses any time soon," Trzaska.