Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2022.
NICHD issues News Releases and Media Advisories to the news media. Spotlight and Research Feature articles explain NICHD research findings and public health issues to the general public. An Item of Interest is a short announcement of relevant information, such as a notable staff change.
Media Advisory: No increase in risk of serious pregnancy complications during early pandemic, NIH-funded study suggests
Compared to giving birth in 2019, giving birth in 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic was not associated with a higher risk of maternal death or a serious complication of pregnancy, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Science Update: Pregnancy-associated homicides on the rise in the United States, suggests NICHD-funded study
U.S. rates of pregnancy-associated homicide—deaths that occur among women who are pregnant or had been pregnant within one year—rose in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent NICHD-funded study.
Science Update: Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may offer slightly greater protection during pregnancy than Johnson & Johnson vaccine, NIH-funded study suggests
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may offer slightly more protection during pregnancy against SARS-CoV-2, compared to the Jansen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Vaccination during the first and third trimesters appears to result in higher antibody-stimulated immune responses than vaccination in the second trimester. It also may lead to greater transfer of antibodies from maternal blood to the placenta.
Director's Corner: Prioritizing Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified mental and emotional health challenges for all of us. Dr. Bianchi highlights research to understand and address factors affecting the mental health of children and their parents.
Science Update: COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy may help protect offspring from SARS-CoV-2 through age 6 months, small NIH-funded study suggests
Vaccinating women against SARS-CoV-2 in mid to late pregnancy could provide their infants at least some protection against COVID-19 through six months of age, suggests a small study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Compared to infants born to mothers who had COVID-19 during pregnancy, infants born to vaccinated mothers were much more likely to have antibodies against the virus.
Release: NIH-funded study suggests COVID-19 increases risk of pregnancy complications
Pregnant women with COVID-19 appear to be at greater risk for common pregnancy complications—in addition to health risks from the virus—than pregnant women without COVID-19, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Science Update: Children born during pandemic may experience slight neurodevelopmental delays, NIH-funded study suggests
Infants born during the pandemic—regardless of whether their mothers had COVID-19 during pregnancy—scored slightly lower on certain tests of neurodevelopment at 6 months old, compared to a similar group of infants born before the pandemic, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that children born during the pandemic may need long-term monitoring to rapidly identify any future lags in development. The researchers theorized that maternal stress resulting from the pandemic could have effects on children’s neurodevelopment.
Media Advisory: SARS-CoV-2 may cause fetal inflammation even in the absence of placental infection
Small NIH study contributes to understanding of COVID-19 during pregnancy.
Spotlight: Selected NICHD Research Advances of 2021
Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2021.
Director's Corner: Understanding Long COVID in Children
Dr. Bianchi discusses NICHD-led research on long COVID in children.
Media Advisory: NIH to study long-term effects of COVID-19 in pregnancy
The National Institutes of Health will support a four-year follow-up study on the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on women infected with SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy. The study will also follow their offspring for any potential long-term effects.
Science Update: No serious adverse events from COVID-19 vaccine in breastfeeding women or their children, NIH-funded study suggests
No serious adverse events were reported by 180 breastfeeding women receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, either among themselves or in their infants, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. For the mothers, adverse events included muscle and body aches, fever and vomiting, pain, redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site.
Spotlight: Developing Mobile Health Solutions for Women in Guatemala
NIH-supported program reduces maternal deaths, complications in rural Guatemalan communities.
Media Advisory: NIH-convened expert panel proposes standardized definition of placental SARS-CoV-2 infection
A panel of experts convened by NICHD has recommended standardized criteria to define infection of the placenta with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Their recommendations aim to help streamline research on SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy and ultimately optimize clinical care.
Science Update: NIH-funded study raises possibility that outermost placental cells may halt spread of SARS-CoV-2
Trophoblasts—the outermost fetal cells of the placenta—may be able to contain SARS-CoV-2 and prevent it from spreading to the fetus even though these cells appear to be susceptible to infection by the virus, a study by NIH-funded researchers suggests. Further research into how trophoblasts might contain the virus could lead to ways to prevent COVID-19 in children and adults. The findings may also lead to insights on why fetuses are only rarely infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Science Update: COVID vaccines in pregnancy boost maternal and newborn immunity, NIH-funded study suggests
Current vaccines to prevent COVID-19 are highly effective in producing antibodies in pregnant people, resulting in more antibodies than what is generated from a natural SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Moreover, antibodies produced after vaccination are present in breastmilk and travel across the placenta, indicating that vaccination during pregnancy will also confer immunity to newborns.
Director's Corner: Advancing Research to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Long COVID
For many COVID-19 patients, full recovery remains elusive even long after they should feel “better.” NIH recently announced research opportunities to understand COVID-19 long haulers, who have what researchers now refer to as Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). NICHD joins these opportunities while remaining focused on PASC patients within our audiences of interest—pregnant and lactating people, children, and those with disabilities.
Release: NIH funds study to evaluate remdesivir for COVID-19 in pregnancy
A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health will evaluate the effects of remdesivir in pregnant women who have been prescribed the drug to treat COVID-19. The study, which will be conducted at 17 sites in the continental United States and Puerto Rico, aims to determine how pregnant women metabolize the drug and whether there are any potential side effects.
Media Advisory: NIH calls for greater inclusion of pregnant and lactating people in COVID-19 vaccine research
Pregnant people need to be protected through research rather than from research, the authors contend.