WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 20, 2020 Today, five major nursing organizations dedicated to maternal and newborn health are advocating that the general public protect pregnant and postpartum mothers, newborns, and families from the coronavirus through the use of masks, washing their hands frequently and practicing social distancing.
The organizations are the Academy of Neonatal Nursing (ANN); the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); Caring for Hawaii Neonates (C4HN); the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN) and the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN).
The organizations jointly state that, in addition to the risks of contracting the disease, a potential danger involves the separation of mothers and newborns immediately after birth because the mother or a caregiver has tested positive. Separations can significantly disrupt early bonding, brain development, the ability for the mother to breastfeed her new baby, and the mental health of both mother and newborn.
“We will likely see a strong resurgence of the coronavirus and COVID-19 cases this fall,” the organizations said, “Therefore, it is critical that the general public remains vigilant. The health of newborns and expectant mothers are at particular risk.“
In accordance with healthcare facility policies and standard infection prevention and control practices during the pandemic, everyday nurses continue to advocate for a variety of measures that protect women and newborns, while encouraging safe delivery and bonding:
- The importance of ensuring family-centered care
- Greater focus on bonding by rooming-in and avoiding the separation of newborns from their parents due to heightened anxiety related to COVID-19
- Active encouragement of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin care while wearing a mask and practicing all COVID-19 safety procedures
The organizations encourage clinicians and interested individuals to reference the following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the World Health Organization:
- CDC (Covid-19)
- If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Or Caring for Young Children (CDC)
- Rooming In, with Precautions, Now OK in Revised AAP Newborn Guidance (AAP)
- Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) (ACOG)
- Breastfeeding and Covid-19 (WHO)
- Academy of Neonatal Nursing (ANN), Debbie Fraser, Executive Director
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Rebecca Cypher, President
- Caring for Hawaiʻi Neonates (C4HN), Leilani Kahoano, Founder/President
- Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN), Carole Kenner, CEO; Karen Walker, President
- National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), Joan Rikli, President
Shannon Doolin, MPA, CAE