EHS-COVID (434) Do No Harm – Maternal, Newborn and Infant Care during COVID-19

15 July, 2021

IPA – UNICEF Scientific Brief, June 2021

What it Involves: This brief summarizes current evidence and guidance for maintaining safe and effective care across the spectrum of maternal, newborn and infant care while protecting mother and child and health care providers during COVID-19. The brief reviews implications of the principle of “do no harm” for maternal, newborn and infant care delivery during COVID-19, with the aim that this information is conveniently and readily available to clinical and health system policy leaders and stakeholders in countries and communities. Additionally, considerations for safe oxygen delivery as well as key Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures at home and in health care facilities for pregnant women, newborns and children are described in detail.

Why this matters: Between 1-10% of COVID-19 cases are in children (in unvaccinated populations), and most children have had mild symptoms, a good prognosis and very low mortality rates. Similarly, the majority of pregnant women experience relatively mild symptoms or remain asymptomatic, but recent data show an increased risk of maternal morbidity and mortality especially among symptomatic pregnant women with COVID-19, as well as an increased likelihood to deliver preterm and admission of their babies to the neonatal unit. These outcomes may be even higher among pregnant women in low- and middle- income countries. This emerging evidence underscores the importance of ensuring quality care during the antenatal and post-partum period.

Read the full brief online:

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,