A University of Houston researcher issues a call for new ways to combat stress and social isolation
If past natural disasters teach us something about their effects on pregnant women and developing children, we must pay close attention, because the additional stress will definitely have an effect on them. Amanda Venta, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston, is sounding this alarm as it relates to the COVID-19 epidemic in a recently released study published in Child Psychiatry and Human Development.
“There is strong evidence indicating that the coronavirus epidemic will affect mothers and infants through immune pathways that have been shown, in previous research, to link stress and social isolation during the prenatal and postnatal periods with deficiencies in the mental health of mothers and children. Sal reports.
The research is clear on the relationship between mind and body and maternal stress which has inflammatory and toxic effects on both mothers and infants.
“A pregnant mother’s immune system translates to her baby, so when inflammatory cytokines are released, which could be a response to stress, they pass to the baby before birth and through breast milk,” Venta said. “When we see an increase in inflammatory cytokines in children, we know that there is an increased risk of developing problems later on.”
One of the studies Salé used in its summary was the Snowstorm Project, which examined the effects of uterine exposure to varying levels of prenatal stress resulting from the 1998 Quebec ice storm, which left millions of people without electricity for up to 40 days. Follow-up with children up to the age of 19 has shown significant effects on mood, behavior, motor development, physical development, IQ, attention, and language development.
Although there is no current data yet linking maternal stress during the COVID-19 pandemic to infant outcomes, it is now time to start an assessment, according to Seale.
“We know that when mothers are socially isolated, it increases stress. We need to do something from a research point of view, and we have to do things clinically differently,” said Venta, speaking from the trenches, when mothers are supported by their partners, or Their family, boyfriends, or even their doctor, these types of social relationships can reduce inflammation.She’s five months pregnant and the obstetrician hasn’t yet asked her whether she’s isolated, tense, or feeling support – questions that are still far from the standard of previous care. For childbirth.
The report concludes that research into the psychological and biological succession of stress and social isolation of mothers and infants is required immediately and recommends specific areas for future research.
- Assessment of infant development and maternal mental health outcomes during and in the aftermath of COVID-19
- Examine the mechanisms of resilience and risk
- Experimental interventions for immediate use
“We must move quickly to understand the risks of long-term distress for these families, and thus identify protective factors that can be used to mitigate the catastrophe of negative consequences for this group of births,” Venta said.