CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Am J Perinatol 2020; 37(12): 1283-1288
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1715839
Short Communication

Beyond the First Wave: Consequences of COVID-19 on High-Risk Infants and Families

Monica E. Lemmon
1   Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
2   Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
Ira Chapman
3   Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
William Malcolm
2   Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
Kelli Kelley
4   Hand to Hold, Austin, Texas
Richard J. Shaw
5   Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
Angelo Milazzo
2   Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
C. Michael Cotten
2   Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
Susan R. Hintz
6   Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
› Author Affiliations
Funding M.E.L. is supported by the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (K23NS116453).


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting care for high-risk newborns in ways that will likely be sustained beyond the initial pandemic response. These novel challenges present an urgent imperative to understand how COVID-19 impacts parent, family, and infant outcomes. We highlight three areas that warrant targeted attention: (1) inpatient care: visitation policies, developmental care, and communication practices; (2) outpatient care: high-risk infant follow-up and early intervention programs; and (3) parent psychosocial distress: mental health, social support, and financial toxicity. Changes to care delivery in these areas provide an opportunity to identify and implement novel strategies to provide family-centered care during COVID-19 and beyond.

Key Points

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is influencing care delivery for high-risk newborns and their families.

  • Rapid changes to care delivery are likely to be sustained beyond the initial pandemic response.

  • We have an urgent imperative to understand how COVID-19 impacts infant, parent, and family outcomes.

Publication History

Received: 20 July 2020

Accepted: 27 July 2020

Article published online:
10 September 2020

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