Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT)

What is the risk of mother-to-child SARS-Cov-2 transmission a) in utero, b) intrapartum, and c) postpartum?

What is the presence and persistence of the virus in amniotic fluid, cord blood, placenta, neonatal throat swabs, vaginal fluids, faeces, serology (IgM, IgG) and breast milk?

Transmission risks to baby

Version 2: updated 28 May 2020

  • Of the 869 babies tested, 52 were suspected to have COVID-19.
  • Eight babies had positive nasopharyngeal swab for the virus within 12 hours of birth.
  • In very few cases, the virus has been detected by RT-PCR in amniotic fluid (n=1), placenta and placental membranes (n=6) , cord blood (n=1), vaginal fluid (n=1), neonatal plasma (n=1), and neonatal anal or faecal samples (n=4)
  • There was no case of confirmed in utero, intrapartum or postpartum transmission
  • Studies varied in the rigour with which the mother-to-child transmission was ascertained

To-date, there is no confirmed mother-to-child transmission of Sars-COV-2

(v2.0 last search update on 12th May 2020; findings may change as new evidence emerges)

Disclaimer: The findings have not yet been peer reviewed and the sources cited should be checked. Any views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their institutions and organisations.

Previous versions

Structured research question (PICO)

Mother-to-child transmission risk of COVID-19 infection
Population Babies born to mothers with suspected/confirmed COVID-19
Exposure In-utero, intrapartum, postpartum
Comparator -
Outcomes Offspring COVID infection status (confirmed, probable, possible, unlikely, not infected)
Viral levels in amniotic fluid, cord blood, vaginal fluids, breast milk, neonatal throat swabs, placenta; duration of viral shedding after COVID-19 symptom onset, after clinical resolution of signs/symptoms
Study design Observational studies


Full details to be published shortly. Currently undergoing peer review.