Maternal Mental Health in Pregnancy and Its Impact on Children’s Cognitive Development at 18 Months, during the COVID-19 Pandemic (CONCEPTION Study).

Publication date: Feb 13, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the mental health of pregnant persons. We aimed to evaluate the impact of maternal mental health and antidepressant use on children’s cognitive development. We followed a cohort of children born during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maternal mental health was self-reported during pregnancy (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, General Anxiety Disorder-7, stress levels, and antidepressant use). The child’s cognitive development was measured using the third edition of the Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3) at 18 months. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression models were built to assess the association between in utero exposure to maternal mental health and ASQ-3 domains: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal-social. Overall, 472 children were included in our analyses. After adjusting for potential confounders, a need for further assessment in communication (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 12. 2, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1. 60;92. 4)), and for improvement in gross motricity (aOR 6. 33, 95%CI (2. 06;19. 4)) were associated with in utero anxiety. The need for improvement in fine motricity (aOR 4. 11, 95%CI (1. 00; 16. 90)) was associated with antidepressant exposure. In utero depression was associated with a decrease in the need for improvement in problem solving (aOR 0. 48, 95%CI (0. 24; 0. 98)). During the COVID-19 pandemic, maternal mental health appears to be associated with some aspects of children’s cognitive development.

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Concepts Keywords
Antidepressant 18 months of age
Domains ASQ-3
Postnatal child development
Pregnancy COVID-19 pandemic
in utero exposure
prenatal mental health


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease MESH Postnatal Depression
disease MESH Anxiety Disorder
disease VO Canada
disease MESH Severe acute respiratory syndrome
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease MESH mental disorders
disease MESH neurodevelopmental disorders
disease MESH specific learning disorders
disease MESH communication disorders
disease MESH motor disorders
disease VO population
disease MESH infection
disease VO vaccination
disease MESH pregnancy outcomes
disease MESH live birth
disease MESH miscarriage
disease MESH stillbirth
disease MESH gestational diabetes
disease MESH hypertension
disease MESH preeclampsia
disease MESH bleeding
disease IDO history
drug DRUGBANK Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
disease IDO object
disease MESH marital status
disease MESH asthma
pathway KEGG Asthma
drug DRUGBANK Cysteamine

Original Article

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