Sonoma County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health

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Research: Covid and Neurodevelopment

Columbia University research finds developmental delays

Results from the COMBO- (COVID-19 Mother Baby Outcomes) Initiative Study, examining associations between in-utero exposure to COVID-19 and neuro-developmental infant outcomes, were recently published in Jama Pediatrics. The results were not what researchers expected- but are not likely to surprise anyone who works with low-income and BIPOC birthing persons.

Read the Full Research Article

In-Utero exposure to COVID-19 was generally benign. The increased maternal stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic was not.

Lower infant scores on the ASQ-3 6 month assessment in the domains of gross motor, fine motor, and personal social skills were identified.

Infants exposed to COVID-19 in-utero do not have delays at 6 months.

Infants whose mothers were in their first trimester during the height of the pandemic do have delays at 6 months.

These findings suggest the increased stress of the pandemic including job loss, food insecurity and loss of housing; along with significant increases in anxiety and depression, were the cause.

Learn more about the influence of maternal stress on child development

"Consistent with our findings that infants born to women who were in their first trimester of pregnancy during the pandemic peak had the lowest scores in gross motor, fine motor, and personal-social subdomains, data from numerous cohort studies have demonstrated that prenatal perceived stress, loneliness, and objective stress, especially during early gestation, are associated with an increased risk for adverse neurodevelopment in children." p.E7

Resources for developmental screening and support

Learn more about the Early Learning Institute

More than 60% of ELI’s staff is bilingual and all our services are available in English and Spanish.  Most are delivered in the home or at ELI’s centers in Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa.

Access the ASQ-3 Screening

It’s easy to do, doesn’t take very long, and caregivers likely have everything they need right with them at home.

Zero to Three State of Babies Yearbook 2022

California children compared to the Nation:

  • 47.6% have a Medical Home (Nationally- 51.5%)
  • 67.4% receive recommended vaccinations (Nationally 72.7%)
  • 0.8% potential home visiting beneficiaries served

            (2.1% Nationally)

"Home visiting is a two-generation approach to serving the varied needs of families with an infant or toddler. Trained home visitors teach parents about milestones of early development and other appropriate expectations for very young children, and help parents promote good health and keep their homes safe for babies and toddlers, use effective parenting practices, and access additional resources within their communities."

Zero to Three 2022 Report

Sonoma County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Website

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