Researchers have found that babies born to mothers who had mild or asymptomatic Covid during pregnancy are normal.

The findings, published in JAMA Network Open, are based on results from a comprehensive assessment of brain development.

“The study, which used a more rigorous method to evaluate babies born during the pandemic, provides further reassuring evidence that having a mild or asymptomatic case of Covid during pregnancy does not affect brain development in infants,” said lead author Dani Dumitriu, Assistant Professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Columbia University.

For the study, the researchers developed a method of observing infants remotely, adapting a developmental assessment tool that is typically administered in person to make the study Covid-safe (babies were assessed between March 2021 and June 2022).

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The researchers studied 407 infants between the age of 5 and 11 months from the US. Overall, nearly a third of the infants in the study were born to mothers who had Covid during pregnancy.

Before the evaluation, each of the participating families received the same set of baby toys and food items so that the researchers could observe and compare the babies’ fine and gross motor skills in a standardized fashion.

The researchers also assessed cognitive and language skills. They did not know which babies had been exposed to Covid in utero.

They found that babies whose mothers had mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 at any point during pregnancy were developing similarly to those whose mothers had never had Covid.

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“Additional studies are needed to tell us about the impact of more severe Covid on a developing infant’s brain,” Dumitriu said.