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Having mild or moderate COVID-19 in pregnancy does not harm the baby’s brain

Pass the COVID-19 mildly or moderately during the pregnancy it does not harm the brain of the developing fetus, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

After two years of the pandemic, it is clear that pregnant women are more vulnerable to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but little is still known about the consequences for the fetus when the mother becomes infected during pregnancy.

“So far, although there are some reports of vertical transmission to the fetus, the exact risk and impact remain unclear. The aim of our study was to find out how a maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection affects the brain development of the fetus “says the study’s lead author, Sophia Stöcklein, from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.

To do this, Stöcklein and his colleagues used fetal MRI to study 33 patients infected with COVID-19 in pregnancy.

The patients had a mean of 28 weeks’ gestation and the first symptoms occurred after 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Most of the pregnant women suffered loss or reduction of the sense of smell and taste, a dry cough, fever and breathing difficulties.

The radiologists who evaluated the MRIs found that brain development in the evaluated areas was age appropriate in all fetuses and that in no case were there any signs of infection in the fetal brain.

“In our study, there was no evidence that a maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection has any effect on fetal brain development,” Stöcklein concludes, although the research only included mothers with mild or moderate symptoms and without hospitalization.

Since the impact of severe infection on fetal brain development has not been conclusively determined, active protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy remains important “, said.

As part of that protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older, including women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

“So far, getting vaccinated is the most promising protection against covid-19” because “any possible side effects are manageable, even in pregnant women. Therefore, despite the encouraging results of our study, pregnant women should seriously consider vaccination.”, Emphasizes the radiologist.

The study authors will follow the patients for the next five years, in addition to a detailed neonatal assessment and neurodevelopmental assessment.

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