Infants who were exposed to COVID-19 while still in the womb have different neurodevelopmental outcomes.


Infants who were exposed to COVID-19 while still in the womb have different neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Infants who were exposed to COVID-19 while still inside the womb have different neuro

According to a preliminary investigation presented at the 30th European Congress of Psychiatry, babies delivered to moms who had COVID-19 illness during pregnancy have different neurodevelopmental outcomes at 6 weeks.

Dr Rosa Ayesa Arriola, the project's leader, said: "Although not all kids born to COVID-infected moms show neurological impairments, our findings demonstrate that their risk is higher than that of newborns who were not exposed to COVID in the womb. A larger investigation is needed to confirm the exact magnitude of the difference "

When compared to newborns born to non-infected moms, researchers discovered that babies born to infected mothers had more difficulty relaxing and altering their bodies when being held. This is especially true when the infection occurs late in pregnancy. Furthermore, babies delivered to infected mothers have a harder time controlling their heads and shoulders. COVID-19 may have an influence on motor function, based on these changes (movement control).

The findings came from a preliminary assessment of the Spanish COGESTCOV-19 experiment, which tracked the course of pregnancy and child development in COVID-19-infected mothers. The results on pregnancy and post-natal assessment will be presented at 6 weeks following birth, but the investigation will continue to investigate if there are any longer-term impacts. Between the ages of 18 and 42 months, the researchers will track the verbal and motor development of infants.

The first study compared newborns born to 21 COVID-positive pregnant mothers and their babies to 21 healthy controls at the University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander, Spain. During and after pregnancy, the moms were subjected to a battery of testing. Hormonal and other biochemical testing (measuring cortisol levels, immune response, and so on), salivary tests, movement reactions, and psychological questionnaires were among them. The age, gender, and other variables of the infants were all taken into account in the studies.

The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), which analyses the baby's movement and behaviour, was one of the post-natal exams.

Ms Gueda Castro Quintas, a researcher at the University of Barcelona's Network Centre for Biomedical Research in Mental Health, said: "Certain parts of the NBAS measurement were altered in 6-week-old infants who had been exposed to the SARS-COV-2 virus, according to the researchers. They react to being hugged or cuddled in a somewhat different way "

We've been extra cautious in how we've conducted these testing. Clinicians with advanced experience in the field and in the tests examined each mother and infant in detail.

It's important to stress that these are preliminary findings, but they're part of a bigger study including 100 moms and their newborns. They were also observed during pregnancy and after delivery. We also intend to compare the data from these moms and newborns to that from a comparable initiative (the epi-project), which investigates the impact of stress and heredity on a child's neurodevelopment."

We are still in the early stages of this project. We discovered that newborns whose mothers had been exposed to COVID showed neurological abnormalities at 6 weeks, but we don't know if these impacts will lead to any long-term problems; longer-term surveillance may help us figure this out.

Nerea San Martin González, a co-researcher, added: " "Of course, there are some characteristics we can't evaluate in kids this early, such as language skills or cognition. We must also keep in mind that this is a rather small sample, therefore we are repeating the study and will follow up over a longer period of time. We need a larger sample size to establish the impact of infection on neurodevelopmental changes in offspring, as well as the involvement of other environmental factors. Meanwhile, we must emphasise the necessity of medical surveillance in order to ensure a safe pregnancy; wherever possible, communicate any concerns with your doctor "

Dr. Rosa Ayesa Arriola, the project's leader, commented: This is the ideal time to form worldwide relationships that will allow us to track children's long-term neurodevelopment born during the COVID-19 epidemic. In the next years, research in this sector will be critical in understanding and preventing potential neurological abnormalities and mental health risks in those children.

Dr Livio Provenzi (University of Pavia, Italy) remarked in an independent comment: The direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of parents and infants must be studied. Pregnancy is a phase of life that determines a lot of our subsequent development, and adversity during pregnancy can leave biological footprints that last a lifetime. Dr Rosa Ayesa Arriola's findings support previous evidence of epigenetic changes in infants born to moms who experienced pandemic-related stress during pregnancy. It demonstrates the need for greater large-scale, multinational research to better understand the developmental implications of this public health crisis and to provide better care to parents and newborns.

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