Dallas

Dallas Baby Born With COVID-19 Is One of Few Such Documented Cases Worldwide

"The hardest part was not holding my daughter when she was born," said the Dallas mother who passed the coronavirus infection to her unborn daughter.

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A North Texas mother is opening up about passing COVID-19 to her newborn baby.

Her case is one of the few documented cases around the world of COVID-19 transmission between a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

Wendy Figueroa, 37, said she went to the emergency room at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas because of a fever and headaches.

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The mother of three was 34 weeks pregnant with gestational diabetes at the time.

According to a study published on her case, she was admitted to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19.

Days later, she prematurely gave birth to her daughter, who doctors said didn't immediately show signs of illness, but shortly after, displayed respiratory distress and tested positive for COVID-19 24 hours after her birth.

"We have enough evidence in her case that the virus was passed from mom to baby while baby was still inside," said Parkland Health & Hospital System and UT Southwestern OB/GYN Dr. Wilmer Moreno, who said transmission between mother and fetus is rare.

As of Friday, more than 170 COVID-19 positive women have given birth at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Five infants have tested positive.

New testing protocols will help track trends but the challenge, according to Moreno, is treatment.

"Typcially women are excluded from the trials because people are afraid of risks to baby, so at this moment, all the institutions doing research are very aware that they need to include women and pregnant women in these studies," Moreno said.

Current guidance for pregnant women includes prevention measures, like wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Figueroa was hospitalized for a week after giving birth, while her baby was hospitalized for three weeks because of her premature condition.

"The hardest part was not holding my daughter when she was born," said Figueroa in Spanish.

She warned other mothers to protect themselves as best as possible against catching the coronavirus.

Both mother and baby are fully recovered.

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