Prenatal COVID exposure affects babies’ motor skills, speech, studies find

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Health workers treat a healthy baby who´s mother is infected with COVID-19, at the Ajusco Medio General Hospital, in Mexico City. 


(Solarina Ho/ CTV News) — Infants born to those who tested positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy may have neurodevelopmental issues after birth, according to new preliminary findings from two separate studies out of the U.S. and Spain.

The peer-reviewed U.S. study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open on June 9, looked at 7,772 infants delivered during the pandemic between March and September 2020 at six hospitals in Massachusetts, 222 of whom had prenatal exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Results showed that the latter group of infants were more likely to receive a neurodevelopmental diagnosis in the first year after birth.

Separately, a small Spanish study compared 21 cases where the parent tested positive during pregnancy and 21 babies who had no exposure during pregnancy at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Santander, Spain. Analysis showed that infants who were exposed in utero demonstrated more motor skill difficulties six weeks after birth, findings that were presented at the 30th European Congress of Psychiatry in early June. (…)

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