Coronavirus Chronicles — More About Mothers, Babies, and COVID-19

The conditions of pregnancy, which dictate how a child is formed and given a start in life, are also connected with obesity in major ways. As if that were not enough of a problem for medical science to deal with, now we have the coronavirus in the mix, complicating things even more. Prospective mothers are horrified by the idea that they might contract the virus and transmit it to their children

By February of this year, it was known that while maternal COVID accounted for a small increase in ICU admissions and in preterm labor, there was more good news than bad. OB-GYN specialist Dr. Jeff Livingston wrote,

Two new independent studies reveal highly encouraging results showing pregnant people with Covid-19 pass protective antibodies to their babies. This finding indicates that pregnant people with Covid-19 are passing protective antibodies through the placenta to their babies.

Interestingly, the severity of maternal illness seems irrelevant, and even mothers who are asymptomatic will pass antibodies to the developing fetuses. Generally, the earlier in pregnancy the infection happened, the more antibodies would be transferred. In that particular study, no babies were born with active SARS-CoV-2. However, it was not clear whether they would henceforth be immune.

Here and there

In the U.S., the Delta variant is creating havoc. In Brazil, the Gamma (P.1) variant is causing health authorities to advise women not to embark on pregnancy just yet (presuming they have a choice), which may be good advice almost anywhere.

In May, The New York Times quoted Dr. Fátima Marinho, who estimated that among children younger than five, more than 2,200 had died since the pandemic began. Of these, more than 1,600 were under a year old. Another expert, Dr. Ribas Freitas said,

We can already affirm that the P.1 variant is much more severe in pregnant women. And, oftentimes, if the pregnant woman has the virus, the baby might not survive or they might both die.

For both to expire is an extreme case, yet it happens. A study of 2,100 pregnant women in 18 countries around the world showed that…

[…] those who contracted COVID-19 during pregnancy were 20 times more likely to die than those who did not contract the virus.
Aside from an increased risk of death, women and their newborns were also more likely to experience preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, and admission to the intensive care unit or intubation. Of mothers who tested positive for the disease, 11·5% of their babies also tested positive.

In August of this year, it was reported that Mississippi had counted 72 fetal deaths in unvaccinated pregnant women, which also translated to a doubling of the usual number of stillbirths. In Alabama, an unvaccinated nurse died along with the fetus in her womb.

The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that in Washington state, pregnant women caught the virus at a 70% higher rate than their age-mates, with non-white women accounting for a disproportionate segment of that population.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Moms Pass Protective Antibodies to Baby After Coronavirus Infection,”, 02/04/21
Source: “Covid: C.D.C. Director Says Choice Is to ‘Get Vaccinated or Continue to Wear Your Mask’,”, 05/16/21
Source: “Pregnancy and COVID-19,” June 2021
Source: “In world first, Health Ministry approves COVID boosters to all Israelis over 40,”, 08/20/21
Source: “Pregnancy tied to estimated 70% higher COVID-19 rate,”, 02/17/21
Image by oddharmonic/CC BY-SA 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources