Link between Covid pandemic and maternal stress caused on the fetal brain development
according to a study published in Communications Medicine, self-reported maternal psychological distress during the COVID-19 may be associated with changes in the brain of developing fetuses,. The study assessed the potential impact of the pandemic itself on pregnant women and their developing fetuses before birth, rather than the impact of COVID-19 infections.
The study involved 65 women who were pregnant during the pandemic and 137 who were pregnant prior to the pandemic. None of the participants assessed during the course of the pandemic were known to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
From the 202 participants, 173 mothers were questioned to investigate any distress experienced during pregnancy including anxiety, stress and depression. The authors found stress and depression were reported proportionally more in the mothers who were pregnant during the pandemic. Overall, 27.6%) women in the pre-pandemic cohort and 52.0%) women pregnant during the pandemic were considered to have high psychological distress.
The authors observed that three brain structure and volumetric measures were decreased in the fetuses from the pandemic cohort compared to the pre-pandemic cohort. They further suggested that this variability and inconsistency could indicate multiple factors that may be involved in fetal brain development.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)