Brain development during the prenatal period is rapid and unparalleled by any other time during development. Biological systems undergoing rapid development are at higher risk for disorganizing influences. Therefore, certain prenatal exposures impact brain development, increasing risk for negative neurodevelopmental outcome. While prenatal exposures have been associated with cognitive and behavioral outcomes later in life, the underlying macroscopic brain pathways remain unclear. Here, we review magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies investigating the association between prenatal exposures and infant brain development focusing on prenatal exposures via maternal physical health factors, maternal mental health factors, and maternal drug and medication use. Further, we discuss the need for studies to consider multiple prenatal exposures in parallel and suggest future directions for this body of research.
- Brain development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience