The coronavirus is here to stay. It has been more than two years since the virus became the scourge of all our lives. Now, new research has revealed that the virus even affects unborn babies. The researchers found that babies born to mothers infected with COVID-19 showed neurodevelopmental findings at six weeks of age. These babies had increased difficulty relaxing and adjusting their bodies while being held compared to babies born to uninfected women. The analysis, which was presented at the 30th European Congress of Psychiatry in Budapest, also highlighted that infants born to infected mothers also had significant difficulty controlling their shoulder and head movements. This suggests in particular that Covid affects motor functions.
However, Dr Rosa Ayesa Arriola of Marques de Valdecilla University Hospital in Spain pointed out that not all babies have neurodevelopmental differences.
“Our data shows that their risk is increased compared to those who are not exposed to Covid in the womb. We need a larger study to confirm the exact extent of the difference.”
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The initial study compared 21 infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19 with 21 born to healthy mothers.
As part of the test, mothers had to undergo a battery of assessments, including biochemical tests, as well as psychological questionnaires during and after pregnancy.
The Postnatal NBAS or Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale has also been done to measure the movements and behavior of the baby.
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“We found that some elements of the NBAS measure were altered in 6-week-old infants who had been exposed to the SARS-COV-2 virus. Indeed, they respond slightly differently when held or cuddled,” Agueda said. Castro Quintas of the University of Barcelona.
Another member of the research team, Dr. Livio Provenzi, highlighted the importance and need for further study of the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 on parents and infants.
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“Pregnancy is a time of life that shapes much of our later development, and exposure to adversity during pregnancy can leave lasting biological imprints.”
(With agency contributions)
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