About the COVID Mothers Study
The COVID Mothers Study was a worldwide survey of mothers which aimed answer the following questions about an infected mother's maternity experiences: Was she separated from her infant? Was she allowed to have skin-to-skin contact in the first hour after birth, and was she allowed to directly breastfeed her infant? We then asked about the outcomes: Did she have difficulty breastfeeding? Did her infant get COVID-19? If so, how severe was the infant's disease? We also wanted to know of the effects of breastfeeding on viral transmission and disease severity in older infants.
Mothers were able to participate if either they or their infant had confirmed or suspected COVID-19 prior to the infant's first birthday. In order to gain full knowledge of how a mother's peripartum experience affected her, mothers could not complete the survey until their infants were at least 1 month old. The survey was available exclusively online from May 4, 2020 through September 30, 2020, and was ultimately available in 10 languages. We also asked mothers about the psychological impact of infant separation on them in order to get a sense of the magnitude of maternal harm, if any, from this practice, which was routine during the pandemic's early months. The survey was reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Harvard University and several other participating institutions. The study was unfunded. See our Findings. See details about the survey. Read about the study team.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine February 10, 2021. Preliminary results were presented at the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine annual international meeting on November 6, 2020, at a seminar on COVID and women's health from the Italian Association of Epidemiology on November 3, 2020, and at the World Health Organization COVID Infant Feeding-Research Interest Group (CIF-RIG) on December 3, 2020. We are grateful to all the participating mothers and our many partners around the world.
(Updated February 10, 2021)