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WSU Health Researchers Examine Covid Effects On Mothers And Children

WSU Health Sciences

The Covid epidemic has left its mark on Washington State University’s health research portfolio. Researchers in the infant and maternal health field have adjusted their projects to explore the effects of the rapidly changing realities.

Celestina Barbosa-Leiker says, when the coronavirus epidemic hit, many of WSU’s infant and child researchers realized that new mothers and pregnant women are bearing an unusual amount of stress.

Barbosa-Leiker is the vice chancellor for research for WSU Health Sciences and an associate professor in the College of Nursing.

“Our preliminary analyses are telling us that pregnant and post-partum women have a wide variety of stressors right now," she said. "They are very anxious, very stressed, not knowing if their partner is going to be in the delivery room with them or if they’re going to be alone. Not knowing how their other family members, grandparents, are going to be able to see the newborn or not.”

Others are worried about their newborn and unborn babies contracting the virus from them or people who are near them.

“We have some moms who have lost their jobs. Their partners have lost their jobs during this time, not knowing how they’re going to be able to pay bills, if they’re going to have a home, things like that. Just additional stressors on top of what other people are feeling during this pandemic," she said.

Barbosa-Leiker says she and more than dozen other faculty members recently formed the WSU Covid-19 Infant, Maternal and Family Health Research Collaborative. She says they’ve already developed a list of projects to work on.

She says they may be able to attract more federal money to fund the new work. But, even if they aren’t, she says they’re using what money and time they have to carry on with their new projects.