The development of fetuses in the womb can be incredibly sensitive to both stressful environments and toxic attacks on their mother’s health.
Currently, several research teams are investigating the potential effects of the pandemic on pregnancy. And while many of these projects are still in their early stages, relevant scientists are tackling a number of challenging questions, such as whether there are more complications, such as premature births among women who have had babies during the pandemic.
Mother to Baby
Scientists are looking at both the short and long-term effects of the coronavirus during pregnancy and whether the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
The observational study aims to enroll 800 expectant mothers with known or suspected COVID-19 infections and monitor their progress through phone calls throughout their pregnancy.
After giving birth, researchers will take samples of breast milk from new mothers and review medical records about their pregnancy and the baby’s development. They hope to eventually track how it will affect the child’s emotional, learning, memory and neurological development and overall health. “Right now, we can only speculate based on our experience with other viral infections such as rubella or flu,” said Christina Chambers, lead investigator of the study and professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.
Torri Metz, professor of gynecology and gynecology at Utah Health University and lead researcher of the study, says they are investigating some serious problems: Are there higher rates of complications – placental abnormalities, cesarean deliveries, preterm births – among women only because they had babies during the epidemic? And are there worse outcomes than women who gave birth before a pandemic because their prenatal care is different? For example, seeing doctors virtually or delaying additional care for fear of visiting face-to-face?
COVID-19 is already linked to a higher rate of cesarean section and preterm delivery. However, there is insufficient evidence as to whether the virus can cross the placental barrier to infect the fetus. “But we don’t know if the virus is transmitted to the baby or if it passed through the birth canal or was contaminated at birth. This is still an open question. ”
The effects of COVID-19 on fetuses are still unknown, but these research teams hope to obtain preliminary findings within the next year. Metz, “Neurological function or anomalies cannot be evaluated until children are very old.” says. A 2018 analysis by a health economist at the University of Maryland found that babies born during the pandemic, diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease revealed that he suffers from higher adverse health conditions later in life, including Other studies have revealed that children born during the pandemic are shorter, poorer, and less educated adults with higher than normal rates of physical disability.
In babies born during the pandemic “We will look for any evidence of minor structural defects of the particular type”Says Chambers.