COVID-19-exposed babies demonstrate motor control issues at 6 weeks

New study reveals motor control issues in COVID-19-exposed babies at 6 weeks old. Preliminary findings show that neurodevelopmental abnormalities may occur in newborns whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. Further research is needed to validate the breadth of this difference. Medical surveillance during pregnancy is crucial for ensuring a safe outcome.

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HUNGARY — According to a preliminary investigation from the European Psychiatric Association, a COVID-19 infection increases the chance for neurodevelopmental abnormalities in newborns whose mothers were unwell during pregnancy. Babies have difficulties relaxing when held and regulating head and shoulder movement six weeks after birth.


Not all kids born to COVID-infected women exhibit neurodevelopmental abnormalities, although their risk is higher than those not exposed in utero. We need a larger study to validate the difference's breadth, says Rosa Ayesa Arriola, a senior researcher at the Valdecilla Research Institute and study coauthor.

The scientists analysed 21 COVID-19-positive newborns. Researchers employed 21 healthy newborns as a control group. During and after pregnancy, all moms had hormonal and psychological examinations. The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale examined mobility and activity.

Certain NBAS components were altered in 6-week-old SARS-COV-2-exposed newborns. Effectively, they respond differently to being hugged or snuggled, says study co-author gueda Castro Quintas.


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The findings are part of a larger investigation examining pregnancy and foetal development in 100 kids delivered to 100 moms with COVID-19. Current data reveal neurodevelopmental outcomes six weeks after birth; the project will examine long-term effects. Researchers want to study language development in 18- to 42-month-old newborns. Future research will compare COVID-19-exposed moms and newborns to a different cohort researching stress and genetics and child development.

The study's limited sample size means additional data are needed to determine COVID-19's influence on newborns' neurodevelopment.

Nerea San Martn González says, "In the interim, we must emphasise the significance of medical surveillance to ensure a safe pregnancy."

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