Fact check: CDC advises only mothers with COVID-19 infection to distance from newborn babies

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Posts are being shared on social media that claim that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance is trying to keep mothers away from their newborn children. However, the posts are missing context: the CDC guidance relates to mothers isolating for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and not for all new mothers.

The posts (  here  , here  ,  here  ) show a screenshot from the CDC website with the following advice circled: “Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible. Discuss with your healthcare provider about using a physical barrier (for example, placing the newborn in an incubator) while in the hospital.” Captions on the posts read, “So the CDC are now against Skin to Skin contact with the mother after birthing a baby” or “They are coming for our children folks…”

The screenshot is taken from the real Pregnancy & Breastfeeding page on the CDC website  here .  The posts do not make it clear that the advice in the screenshot refers to mothers who are self-isolating because they have COVID-19; the heading above the advice, “Take precautions when having your newborn stay in the same room with you, if you are in isolation for COVID-19,” is misleadingly cut off.

Some screenshots shared on Facebook do show the part of the website where the CDC advises that when the isolation period has ended, mothers do not need to take precautions other than washing their hands, showing that these are temporary measures (here), but other screenshots cut this section out as well (here).

The CDC website explains that mothers who test positive for COVID-19 can decide with their healthcare provider to have their newborn stay in the same room as them, as “current evidence suggests that the risk of a newborn getting COVID-19 from its mother is low, especially when she uses appropriate precautions before and during care of the newborn, such as wearing a mask and practicing hand hygiene.”


Missing context. The CDC does advise that mothers who are isolating because they have COVID-19 keep a distance from their babies; however this advice does not apply to all mothers and the guidance ends when the isolation period is over.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .