NIMH » Combined, High Maternal Stress and Prenatal COVID-19 Infection May Affect Attention Span in Infants

NIH-funded examine identifies managing maternal stress as a potential method to reduce impacts of prenatal an infection on toddler socioemotional and cognitive growth

Media Advisory


For moms who expertise excessive stress throughout their being pregnant, prenatal COVID-19 an infection  could also be related to an elevated threat for impaired consideration and delayed socioemotional and cognitive functioning of their infants, in response to a small examine funded by the Nationwide Institute of Psychological Well being, a part of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being. The findings spotlight maternal stress as a modifiable goal to doubtlessly cut back adverse outcomes from prenatal COVID-19 an infection and the potential protecting advantages to expectant moms of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 throughout their being pregnant.

The examine, which seems in Pediatric Analysis, was led by Denise Werchan, Ph.D., Moriah Thomason, Ph.D. , and Natalie Brito, Ph.D. , at New York College, New York. It included 167 moms and their infants—50 who reported COVID-19 signs or a optimistic COVID-19 check throughout their being pregnant and 117 who didn’t report having COVID-19 whereas pregnant. The researchers enrolled households between March 2020 and January 2023, with most enrolled between March and August 2020.

Moms reported on melancholy, anxiousness, and post-traumatic stress signs and bodily complaints throughout their being pregnant, which have been then averaged into an total rating of prenatal psychosocial stress. Toddler growth at 6 months was assessed utilizing a behavioral activity and self-report measure, through which researchers remotely led households via a visible eye gaze activity to measure toddler consideration and moms crammed out a survey of toddler self-regulation. When infants have been 12 months previous, 99 collaborating moms accomplished surveys to determine potential delays of their little one’s socioemotional and cognitive growth.

Independently, prenatal stress and COVID-19 an infection weren’t associated to toddler outcomes at both age. In pregnancies with out COVID-19, no affiliation was discovered between prenatal stress and toddler consideration at 6 months. Nevertheless, in pregnancies optimistic for COVID-19, greater prenatal stress was related to poorer toddler consideration. In flip, infants with poorer consideration at 6 months have been extra more likely to present potential delays in socioemotional functioning and cognition at 12 months.

The researchers are persevering with to observe this cohort of youngsters into later ages to look at if the affect of maternal stress on their neurobehavioral growth persists, as mirrored by parental report, biospecimens, behavioral evaluation, and neuroimaging.


Julia Zehr, Ph.D., chief of the Developmental Mechanisms and Trajectories of Psychopathology Department within the NIMH Division of Translational Analysis, is on the market for remark.


Werchan, D. M., Hendrix, C. L., Hume, A. M., Zhang, M., Thomason, M. E., & Brito, N. H. (2023). Results of prenatal psychosocial stress and COVID-19 an infection on toddler consideration and socioemotional growth. Pediatric Analysis. 


Concerning the Nationwide Institute of Psychological Well being (NIMH): The mission of the
 is to remodel the understanding and therapy of psychological diseases via primary and scientific analysis, paving the best way for prevention, restoration and remedy. For extra info, go to the NIMH web site.

Concerning the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical analysis company, consists of 27 Institutes and Facilities and is a part of the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers. NIH is the first federal company conducting and supporting primary, scientific, and translational medical analysis, and is investigating the causes, therapies, and cures for each widespread and uncommon illnesses. For extra details about NIH and its packages, go to the NIH web site .

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Well being®

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

Give us a call at (385) 312-0787  or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.

Error: Contact form not found.