Fralin Biomedical studies impact of pandemic on pregnancy

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 12:22 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke is taking a closer look at the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on new mothers and their babies.

Assistant Professor Brittany Howell is using virtual meetings to study local pregnant women and moms who gave just birth to see how their stress levels at this time impacted their pregnancies.

Howell believes the stress of the pandemic is similar to that of a natural disaster or interpersonal violence.

“Prenatal stress, there can be direct effects of all of the stress hormones and differences in the effects of immune function. Postnatally, it can be behavior. If you’ve ever tried to take care of a child when you, yourself are stressed out, it’s impossible to be the kind of caregiver that you want to be,” said Howell.

Howell will also be following up with in-person visits for some mothers and their babies down the road to study more long-term effects.

If you’d like to participate you can sign up here.

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