Pandemic Babies have Developmental Delays

Pandemic Babies have Developmental Delays

  • A small study has shown that babies born in the early stages of the pandemic experience developmental delays at 6 years.
  • Researchers were surprised to see that the results held regardless of mom’s COVID-19 status. 
  • However, the babies’ communication skills were improved and it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be lags.

According to a report, infants born in the early stages of the pandemic show slight delays in motor skills and social skills. Small studyColumbia University. 

These are the results Published TuesdayJAMA Pediatrics held that the mother did not have COVID-19 during pregnancy. 

Researchers were shocked by the delay. They believed that COVID-19 status of a mother, and not a baby’s birth, would have a greater impact on child development, as other types of infections are associated with neurodevelopmental problems.  

However, the effects of the pandemic on pregnant women’s stress levels may help explain the lags. These lags were not larger overall rates but small shifts in averages, Dr. Dani Dumitriu, the lead investigator, said. in a press release

“We want parents to know that the findings in our small study do not necessarily mean that this generation will be impaired later in life,” Dumitriu said. “This is still a very early developmental stage with lots of opportunities to intervene and get these babies onto the right developmental trajectory.”

The communication skills of pandemic babies were slightly higher 

The study was conducted by researchers who used questionnaires to collect information from parents of 255 babies that were born at two New York City hospital between March 2020 and December 2020.

The questionnairesThis questionnaire was completed at 6 months of age and asked about communication skills.”does your baby make high pitched squeals?”), gross motor skills (“does your baby roll from his back to tummy?”), fine motor skills (“does your baby reach for a toy with both hands?”), problem-solving skills (“does your baby look for a toy that he drops?”) and social skills (“does your baby smile and coo in the mirror?”). 

Researchers found lower average scores for gross and fine motor skills and social skills in 6-month-olds born in the same hospitals as the pandemic.

The pandemic babies’ communication skills, interestingly, were slightly higher — another surprise given their likely interactions with masked adults.

Roseann Capanna-HodgeInsider spoke with a licensed professional counselor, who specializes in child mental health. She said that the results highlight the impact of maternal stress on child growth. Instead of feeling overwhelmed she recommends that pregnant moms and people with children practice simple stress-reducing techniques such as 10 minutes of breathwork daily. 

Capanna-Hodge stated previously to Insider that the children learn through play. “When you’re playing, you’re teaching them problem-solving, you’re teaching them social skills like paying attention to the other person’s facial expression, you’re teaching them how to wait their turn and how to handle frustration.”

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