January 13, 2020
Association of Maternal Psychological Distress With In Utero Brain Development in Fetuses With Congenital Heart Disease
 JAMA Pediatr.  doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5316

Question  Is there an association of prenatal maternal stress, anxiety, and depression with brain growth in fetuses with congenital heart disease?

Findings  This longitudinal case-control study of 140 fetuses, including 48 fetuses with congenital heart disease having 74 magnetic resonance imaging scans and 92 healthy fetuses with 149 magnetic resonance imaging scans, showed that psychological distress in women with fetal congenital heart disease appears to be prevalent and associated with impaired fetal cerebellar and hippocampal development during the second half of gestation.

Meaning  This study’s findings suggest that universal screening for prenatal psychological distress and integrated cognitive-behavioral interventions are needed to better support pregnant women and optimize neurodevelopment in fetuses with congenital heart disease.