Non-severe COVID-19 during pregnancy has no visible effect on the baby's brain, according to a small study presented on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Researchers led by Dr. Sophia Stoecklein of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich used fetal MRI to study 33 pregnant women with mild or moderate COVID-19. The MRI scans showed “normal age-appropriate brain development” in all cases, Stoecklein said in a statement. “There were no findings indicative of infection of the fetal brain.”
On average, the women were about 28 weeks into their pregnancies, with symptoms having started at just over 18 weeks into the pregnancy - most often, a reduced sense of smell and taste, dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
Only mothers who did not require hospital admission were included in the study. “Since the impact of severe infection on brain development in the fetus has not been conclusively determined, active protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy remains important,” Stoecklein said.