of the pandemic, there is a critical public health need to understand how maternal exposure may have effects similar to those observed in these previous studies of infection in pregnancy.

To investigate the association between COVID-19 infections during pregnancy and an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders

scientists examined electronic health records for 18,355 live births during the COVID-19 pandemic, including 883 (4.8%) individuals with SARS-CoV-2 positivity during pregnancy.

Of the 883 children exposed to COVID-19, 26 (3.0%) received a neurodevelopmental diagnosis within the first 12 months of life. Among children not exposed to COVID-19, 317 (1.8%) were diagnosed as such. The results are published JAMA Network Open.


After controlling for race, ethnicity, insurance status, hospital type, maternal age, and preterm birth status, maternal COVID-19 positivity was associated with nearly twice the odds of a neurodevelopmental diagnosis at 12 months of age among male children. However, this was not associated with a higher risk in girls.

The effects were more modest in males at 18 months, with positivity associated with a 42% higher likelihood of a neurodevelopmental diagnosis at this age. Too few mothers were vaccinated to determine whether the vaccine changed the risk.

Neurodevelopmental risk associated with maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection was disproportionately higher in male infants, consistent with increased male vulnerability to prenatal adverse effects.

The researchers hope to expand this study and continue to follow them over time to provide better answers about any long-term effects.

Source: Eurekalert

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